Esprit at the Jamboree
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife joins the Boy Scouts of America for their centennial celebration
This July, 50,000 people flocked to Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia, to take part in the Boy Scouts of America’s national jamboree. The organization celebrates its centennial this year.
Thousands of tents covered the event site to create a patchwork of color. Scouts, their families and troop leaders, and other visitors from every state in the country engaged in dozens of activities from fly fishing to scuba diving during the weeklong event.
In the environmental and conservation area, visitors walked a mile-long trail to learn about natural resources and interact with exhibits sponsored by 26 different federal and state agencies. Scouts were eligible to receive merit badges by participating in activities offered along the trail and demonstrating their knowledge of nature and resource conservation.
As with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Scouting has always emphasized the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship. Gary Stolz, Refuge manager at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and scouting coordinator for the northeast region believes that “there is a lot of overlap between our agencies missions”.
Centered about a live raptor demonstration, the Service’s exhibit directed scouts around a horseshoe-shaped causeway to learn about topics such as woodland fire management, careers in environmental law enforcement and the history of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Scouts were offered a chance to participate in a wildfire suppression challenge (shown left) and a wildlife refuge trivia game where they could win migratory bird posters, animal tattoos and even the coveted Fire Management Boy Scout patch.
Scouts congregated along the shore of Fish Hook Lake to catch and cook stocked trout and catfish. As part of earning their fishing merit badges, Service employee Albert Spells informed scouts about endangered fish species and the ways that biologists sample fish in order to learn about population health and life histories. Assorted traps, nets and a boat equipped for electro-fishing studies were set up outside of Spells’ exhibit tent. Across the way, the Service hosted a fly-tying activity area where scouts could make their own fishing flies and be mentored on the intricacies of successful fly fishing.
Many volunteers, retirees, and seasoned scouts employed by the Service were excited about the opportunity to help staff the agency’s exhibit area. Brian Braudis, deputy project leader at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey even brought his son, John, who tied his first fly and the Jamboree.
To learn more about the Service, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ or travel to a national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery near you.
For more pictures from the 2010 Boy Scout jamboree Conservation Trail, check out the Flickr set.
Story and photos by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intern Christopher J. Poulin.
A colorful crowd at the jamboree. Credit: Christopher J. Poulin/USFWS
Entrance to the USFWS conservation trail exhibit area. Credit: Christopher J. Poulin/USFWS
Albert Spells teaches boy scouts about endangered fish species in the northeast. Credit: Christopher J. Poulin/USFWS