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"Nature Quest" Heald at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, June 2009
Southwest Region, June 30, 2009
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 The second annual Region 2 youth forum event, called Nature Quest, sported an expanded theme.  Twelve high school students, selected again because of environmental projects they had completed in their own communities, were challenged to take leadership roles by fostering an awareness and appreciation of nature in others - specifically 60 fifth and sixth graders from the area near the refuge in Oklahoma.  The older students spent the first few days of the week-long session mentoring the younger kids as they learned about safety in hot weather, good nutrition while camping and the ethics of proper refuge use.  The myriad activities of archery, fishing, aquatic studies, virtual geocaching for natural objects like bison wallows and a decomposing animal taught essential skills and knowledge about Nature that many of the students had never experienced.  It certainly opened a whole new world of opportunities to them.  The finale was a three day, two-night camp out on the refuge in Native American teepees. "Hopefully, we're developing this nation's future environmental leaders, by challenging these high achieving high school students to be role models" said Jeff Rupert, Wichita Mountains refuge manager, "and also connecting younger kids with nature."

Contact Info: Levi Smith, 580-429-2110, quinton_smith@fws.gov



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