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Building Partnerships with After School Programs
Midwest Region, March 18, 2013
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After school students from Necedah Area School District learn how to focus binoculars as they gear up for an exciting game of bird BINGO.
After school students from Necedah Area School District learn how to focus binoculars as they gear up for an exciting game of bird BINGO. - Photo Credit: USFWS Photo.

Rain, wind, and even a bit of snow can’t keep area after school students away from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge! This school year, nearly 90 students, grades three through eight, from the Necedah Area School District and more than 125 students, grades kindergarten through eight, from Adams-Friendship Area School District have continuously traveled out to the refuge for after school programming opportunities.

 

When students first arrived on-site, they were asked to brainstorm characteristics naturalists have or describe what they do. A Necedah seventh grade student wrote, “a naturalist is a person who loves the wild and study’s everything about it,” while a sixth grade student suggested a naturalist was “[a person] that looks at how nature is changing.” And that’s exactly what these students have been doing over the past several months: observing, studying, and exploring the natural environment at Necedah Refuge.

This eight month partnership provides diverse educational experiences during each visit. From searching for owl pellets to creating mini-habitats in the fall, to winter animal tracking and snowshoeing, to playing binocular BINGO and going on bird hikes in the springtime, there is never a dull moment with these students! “The goal of this partnership is to give students an opportunity to get outside and explore their own backyards,” said visitor services specialist Kara Zwickey. Just as naturalists observe, study, and ask questions about nature, so too do these students.

This program would not be possible without the support of the Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, who contribute to transportation fees, the dedicated educators who accompany students to the refuge, or the area program coordinators, Linda Lowery (Necedah Area School District) and Mary Jocham (Adams-Friendship Area School District).


Contact Info: Kara Zwickey, 608-565-4412, kara_zwickey@fws.gov



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