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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Local School Children Dig Deep to Connect with Nature at Local Refuge

Region 8, February 28, 2012
Kate Erly, Stockton FWO, helping a local elementary student plant native vegetation at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in a Connecting People with Nature event.
Kate Erly, Stockton FWO, helping a local elementary student plant native vegetation at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in a Connecting People with Nature event. - Photo Credit: n/a
Amy Hopperstad, a park ranger at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, teaches a group of students about the importance of wetlands to migratory water birds.
Amy Hopperstad, a park ranger at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, teaches a group of students about the importance of wetlands to migratory water birds. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Kate Erly, Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office

On February 28 2012, the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge hosted a Connecting People with Nature event where both children and adults got down and dirty helping plant native vegetation on the refuge. The refuge spans over 6,000 acres of managed wetlands within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and is home to a large variety of migratory birds and endangered and threatened species.

The refuge provided 75 third graders from the local elementary school a great opportunity to learn about nature in their own backyards. Clad in garden gloves and armed with shovels, the students joined volunteers from the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office and ventured into the wetland to assist the refuge staff with planting numerous native plants including Valley oaks, native blackberry, box-elders, California wild rose, and elderberry. After digging holes almost deep enough to stand in, and planting hundreds of indigenous plants, the students beamed with pride at the hard work they had accomplished.

As a special treat to the students, an informative nature hike was given around the refuge by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers who assisted the students with pictorial keys to help identify various animal tracks left by the local wildlife along the path. To conclude the afternoon, the refuge staff led a presentation on the various migratory birds that use the wetlands throughout the year to help further articulate to the students the value of conserving our wild lands.

Contact Info: Joseph Kirsch, 209-334-2968 ext. 309, joseph_kirsch@fws.gov