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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Trenton, New Jersey Sigma Beta Club and Phi Beta Sigma advisers visit Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to kick off new urban partnership

Region 5, December 1, 2015
Beta Sigma club adviser Boynton Weekes, finds his wingspan to be a little less than that of a bald eagle
Beta Sigma club adviser Boynton Weekes, finds his wingspan to be a little less than that of a bald eagle - Photo Credit: n/a
It was at times difficult to tell who enjoyed the tour more, the advisers or the youth!
It was at times difficult to tell who enjoyed the tour more, the advisers or the youth! - Photo Credit: n/a
A break in the action allowed time for an awesome group picture
A break in the action allowed time for an awesome group picture - Photo Credit: n/a
Zone administrative officer Mike Johnson, talks about careers in administration and business management within the Service
Zone administrative officer Mike Johnson, talks about careers in administration and business management within the Service - Photo Credit: n/a
Youth and advisors learn about water level manipulation that benefits various species
Youth and advisors learn about water level manipulation that benefits various species - Photo Credit: n/a

A Great Swamp-sized thank you goes out to nearly the entire staff of Wallkill River and Great Swamp NWRs as well as law enforcement officer Chris Pancila from E.B. Forsythe NWR, and FMO Mike Durfee for help in hosting a very special inaugural visit to the refuge. Additional thanks go out to our tremendous new partners from the Trenton, NJ chapter of Phi Beta Sigma who helped us pull the visit together, and to the Friends of Great Swamp for their unending support to the refuge.

 

The Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Beta Club is a youth auxiliary arm of Phi Beta Sigma, a service fraternity that is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to introduce urban youth to the National Wildlife Refuge System and other Service programs as well as careers across the agency.

This kick-off event was held at Great Swamp on Saturday, November 21st and was intended to introduce the youth to the wide variety of careers present on refuges. It was also intended to establish a personal connection between the youth, their advisers and refuge staff. A special behind the scenes tour of the biological, visitor services, and maintenance programs was a highlight of the day.

By all accounts it was a great day and well received by our new friends and partners. The kids had a great time and got to see and learn a lot about the refuge, the staff, and careers. They also got to meet and learn about each staff member's journey, making that personal connection that is so valuable in developing positive new relationships. The visit went so well that we are already planning a return visit in the spring to highlight the swamp in a different season. Perhaps a frog call survey will be a part of that visit!

Contact Info: Michael Horne, (973) 702 7266 x11, michael_horne@fws.gov