Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
85 Mattamuskeet Road
Swan Quarter, North Carolina 27885

Contact: Jerry Fringeli 252-926-4021

News Release

May 11, 2009

"I Gave Eight at my Granddaughter's School's Earth Day Celebration!"

Jesse Williams, long time Engineering Equipment Operator for Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, is a real pushover for his only granddaughter, Sarah. When Sarah volunteered her "Papa" to bring a wildlife exhibit to her school's Earth Day celebration, Jesse scrambled to put together something that would make her proud.

While he was going refuge to refuge in eastern North Carolina looking for ideas and "things" to take along, he bumped into Abbey Reibel and Cindy Heffley, Visitor Services Specialists at Pea Island. And, he probably got more stuff than he wanted!! Adding posters, handouts, and information boards to his already-collected stash of wildlife mounts and pelts, Jesse was ready.

And Jesse did, in fact, make Sarah proud. At the same time, he made the rest of the FWS in eastern North Carolina proud, as well. Jesse enthusiastically talked about wildlife in eastern North Carolina and his 30+ years of working on national wildlife refuges. He showed the children an otter, a bear, an owl, and all kinds of pelts, and parts, and pieces of wildlife. He talked about the value of refuges and the habitat they provide, and he encouraged the children to be good stewards. Jesse taught over 500 students from Old Richmond Elementary School in Tobaccoville, NC about wildlife and the refuges near where they live. What a way to give "eight"!

This is how we connect children with nature. Everyone can do it. It doesn't take a degree or a certificate. It just takes sharing the things you love with the people you love. Now, who's going to be the next to say "I gave eight?"

Photos: USFWS

Over five young students crowd around a bear display.
Students at Old Richmond Elementary School were so excited to be allowed to touch the bear! (Don't you just know they all wanted a "Papa" like Jesse Williams?).

Jesse at the left is behind a table full of animal displays such as a bear, an otter, bird feathers etc. Children are crowded around on the other side of the table. This is all inside of a basketball gym.
I'm not sure which is more important--- teaching a good conservation message or being a hero to your granddaughter! Good thing both were accomplished!