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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Partners with North Plainfield High School for Urban Outreach

Region 5, June 16, 2014

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge partnered with North Plainfield High School in New Jersey to give an in-class presentation as part of the refuge’s urban outreach initiative. This was the second time that Visitor Services Specialist David Sagan and Office Automation Clerk Jerfelis Pimentel met with the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class. David Sagan presented an educational program and tour of the refuge to the class in April. The class also met Jerfelis when they stopped in Refuge Headquarters that same day.

The principal of North Plainfield High School, Mr. Jerard Stephenson, welcomed the federal employees before their second interaction with the urban youth. The talk spanned two 40-minute back-to-back class periods. Within that time, both staff members discussed the significance of Great Swamp NWR, the National Wildlife Refuge System, federal as well as New Jersey threatened & endangered species, plus current threats to conservation.

Eleven junior and senior high school students listened intently during the discourse which included a discussion of climate change, its effects on New Jersey refuges, and impacts to fish and wildlife throughout the nation. The discussion also considered how increasing global temperature endangers biodiversity, and ecosystem goods and services across the earth. The presentation concluded with an analysis of the pros and cons of various alternative energy sources while challenging students to propose programs that would encourage their community to produce less greenhouse gas which their instructor, Dr. O’Donnell, assigned as extra credit. The last few minutes of class were spent talking about jobs in the conservation field and the educational requirements to work for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov