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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
MODOC NWR: After School Program Engages Students in Wildlife Management
Region 8, June 12, 2009

by Sean Cross, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge
Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is teaming up with local groups to introduce local students to wildlife science and refuge management. In September 2008, refuge staff joined New Pioneer 4-H Club, Alturas Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Student Enrichment Activity Leading to Success (SEALS) after school program to bring children to the refuge and study wildlife biology, wildlife habitat and to learn about managing a national wildlife refuge.


One Wednesday a month, 17 students ages 9-13 and two instructor travel to Modoc National Wildlife Refuge and meet with refuge and BLM staff and participate in hands on science based activities. The subjects covered included habitats, wildlife surveys, animal population/management, nest productivity, watersheds, soils, mammals and wetlands. The children are also given the opportunity to “explore” the great doors and record what they found, smelled or observed in a journal.  The students maintained journals monthly to keep records of each activity they participated in.  Students would often ask “Can we come next week too” and parents have commented how excited their children are to be going to the refuge for their “refuge” day.


The education partnerships plays a critical role in offering an outdoor learning program for the students.  The partnerships enabled refuge staff to reach kids in greater numbers and provide the youth with a variety of adult mentors with differing skills and experiences.  The education project was continued for the 2009-2010 school year.


The project brings awareness of the natural world to the members that have often taken the outdoors for granted. This program also reaffirmed the importance of kids and nature and how important a role it plays in their lives.  Local community awareness for outdoor activities have also increased  Based upon praises from participating children, local community awareness for the outdoors is also on the rise.


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov