National Wildlife Refuge System

Field Day with a NEEF Event Grant

Friends of Heinz Refuge, PA, used a Nature of Learning grant to help children from Longstreth Elementary School plant a pollinator garden on the refuge.
Children at the photography station take a picture of a peregrine falcon.
Credit: Friends of the Bosque del Apache Refuge

“Outside of the Festival of the Cranes, this was the best event we’ve had in my nine years here,” says Leigh Ann Vradenburg, executive director of the Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. The Friends used a $2,000 event grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation to organize a Field Day for 46 youngsters, 5 – 14 years old. The children spent 30 minutes at each of four stations: archery, orienteering, duck calling and outdoor photography.  Stations were spread along a nearly two mile loop trail, so the day included plenty of hiking as well.

The duck calling station was run by nationally competitive callers. Kids received a duck call made from a recycled shotgun shell.
Credit: Friends of the Bosque del Apache Refuge

Kids used loaner cameras with advice from a professional and an amateur photographer. They were encouraged to send back their best photos for display at the refuge’s annual Festival of the Cranes.   At the duck calling station, kids matched wings, species and calls. Each participant received a duck call made from a recycled shotgun shell.  Children used a compass to search for rubber ducks at the orienteering station. Refuge fire staff taught archery, one of the most popular stations.

Friends of Heinz Refuge, PA, used a Nature of Learning grant to help children from Longstreth Elementary School plant a pollinator garden on the refuge.
Kids were taught safety and seriousness at the archery station, voted a favorite activity for the day.
Credit: Friends of the Bosque del Apache Refuge

“I credit the NEEF grant for jump-starting our thinking about this type of event,” said Vradenburg, “and the NEEF funding was certainly integral to its success.”

Other Friends groups receiving NEEF event grants in 2014 include Friends of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI; and Friends of Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, NY.  Information about NEEF event and capacity building grants for Friends groups is available here.

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Last updated: May 29, 2014