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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWR: Refuge Staff Participate in Career Day at Los Angeles High School
Region 8, May 8, 2009
Marc Weitzel (Project Leader), Ivett Plascencia (STEP), and Lisa Cox (SCEP), talk with high school students about FWS careers (USFWS, 2009).
Marc Weitzel (Project Leader), Ivett Plascencia (STEP), and Lisa Cox (SCEP), talk with high school students about FWS careers (USFWS, 2009). - Photo Credit: n/a
Ivett Plascencia explains STEP and SCEP programs to students at El Monte High School (USFWS, 2009).
Ivett Plascencia explains STEP and SCEP programs to students at El Monte High School (USFWS, 2009). - Photo Credit: n/a
Jen Lechuga (HCP Coordinator), with the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, tells students about her experience with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS, 2009).
Jen Lechuga (HCP Coordinator), with the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, tells students about her experience with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS, 2009). - Photo Credit: n/a

by Michael Woodbridge, Hopper Mountain NWRC
On a hot Friday in Los Angeles, staff from the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) and Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, along with several other natural resource employers, came to a local high school to send one message:  that there are green jobs and career opportunities to be had.  It was a successful day of many questions, connections, and smiling faces.  The event was sponsored by the National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC).

Project Leader Marc Weitzel, Lisa Cox (SCEP), Ivett Plascencia (STEP), and Jen Lechuga (HCP Coordinator) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), joined others such as the U.S. Forest Service, Chevron, L.A. County Fire Department, Looking Green Magazine, and The Nature Conservancy to communicate their message.  The morning consisted of private presentations by the chosen “Role Models” in various classrooms, while lunchtime brought all of the students out to visit the booths where literature and personal one-on-one time was available.  The FWS booth handed out posters, pens, and pamphlets, along with SCEP position information in DVD and VHS format.  Following lunch, the Role Models were able to split up in three areas of the school to give a longer lecture with a question and answer session.  In the “Green Jobs” room, FWS was able to perform for a full hour and handed out a career/degree options packet to each student in the room.  After the talk, five students came up and expressed a strong interest in volunteering with the FWS and a real love for animals!  The FWS Role Models chatted with them, more than happy to reach out and share the same passions of connecting people with wildlife.

It was a successful day for outreach, and the FWS employees sincerely enjoyed the opportunity to educate students about what kind of future they could make happen for themselves.  This summer, the NHEC plans to have a four-day program at California State University-Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA, for students in Ventura County.  The Hopper Mountain NWRC and Ventura Field Office are enthusiastic about participating in this environmental career program, and plan to continue their active role.

Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov