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Midwest Region

 

Building A Career through Experience

 
Ottawa 2009 YCC Crew
L – R:  Kylie Biggert, Oliver Cornet, Allison Burkett, Haley Smith, Hunter St. Clair
Photo credit: FWS

A summer filled with beach cleanups, trimming trails, habitat restoration for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly, and banding egrets and great blue herons is just the beginning for high school students at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funding allowing these experiences to happen.

“I now know how much damage Spotted Knapweed does to the beaches,” stated a YCC enrollee who gathered 100 garbage bags full of this invasive plant from the Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge beach.

The Refuge considers this years Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program a big success. For most of the enrollees, this was their first job. “Some of the students were contemplating a career in the environmental field, and this program provided them with first-hand experience,” stated Sara Siekierski, Wildlife Refuge Specialist. The students learned what was to be expected of them as an employee and gained new skills that they can apply in future employment opportunities.  Their hard work, dedication, and youthful enthusiasm were greatly appreciated by the Refuge.

On Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge YCC crew leader Kylie Biggert, guided her crew with little effort.  As a team one of their biggest accomplishments was to place boundary signs on 8 refuge properties totaling 530 acres of refuge land.

To fulfill the YCC program requirements, the crew took part in many educational programs during their 8-week employment with Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. One YCC enrollee stated, “My favorite thing this summer was when we went on the ferry to Gibraltar Island and toured the Stone Laboratory.”  All of the field trips and work at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge exposed the students to different career paths and taught them about many of the different environmental programs and organizations.


 
Allison Burkett assisting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with their Annual Goose Round-Up.
Photo credit: FWS
 
Hunter St. Clair holds a Canada Goose he banded at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with their Annual Goose Round-Up.
Photo credit: FWS
 
Haley Smith and Allison Burkett performing habitat restoration at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo credit: FWS
 
On Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge YCC crew leader Kylie Biggert, guided her crew with little effort. As a team one of their biggest accomplishments was to place boundary signs on 8 refuge properties totaling 530 acres of refuge land.
Photo credit: FWS

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013