Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Bay Day
Southwest Region, June 29, 2006
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Bay Beach Scavenger Hunt
Bay Beach Scavenger Hunt - Photo Credit: n/a
Seining at Aransas NWR Bay Day
Seining at Aransas NWR Bay Day - Photo Credit: n/a
Look at the shrimp, the crabs, the jellyfish, and the fish.
Look at the shrimp, the crabs, the jellyfish, and the fish. - Photo Credit: n/a
Fishing EE at Aransas NWR.
Fishing EE at Aransas NWR. - Photo Credit: n/a
Fish printing
Fish printing - Photo Credit: n/a
Prescribe Fire EE.
Prescribe Fire EE. - Photo Credit: n/a

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Bay Day was developed as a partnership with the Aransas Pass for Youth organization to give the at risk youth population of Aransas County a quality environmental education experience at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Aransas Pass for Youth Organization was established to provide the youth of Aransas County  and surrounding areas, opportunities for participation in a summer learning and recreation program that builds self-esteem, improves self-confidence, and strengthens positive socialization while reducing the number of unsupervised and under supervised children in the area. This is the third year for this very successful event.

The partnership consist of two components. Refuge Environmental Education Specialist and youth volunteer Dakota Stinson visited the Aransas Pass for Youth Group at the Aransas Pass Elementary School. The Refuge conducted 6 presentations for 133 students and 14 counselors. The presentations focused on the animals of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Complex and featured an ornate box turtle, a corn snake, a gulf coast ribbon snake, a tarantula, a slender glass lizard as well as many skins, skulls, and replicates of other animals. The students were allowed to touch the snakes and turtles while learning about animal habitats and adaptations. The students learned about the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The need for sunscreen, bug repellent and outdoor safety was discussed in preparation for their trip to the Refuge. Most of the students had never been to the Refuge before the development of this partnership.

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Bay Day was held at the Youth Environmental Training Area at ANWR. The students arrived on buses and rotated through Environmental Education (EE) areas. Refuge personnel and volunteers conducted the activities  which included Fishing EE, Prescribed Fire EE, Bay Ecology: "What's in the Seine?", Bay Beach Scavenger Hunt, and Fish Prints.  Fishing allowed the students to get wet and learn about rules, regulations, and ethics. Prescribed fire featured refuge fire personnel showing the kids the fire truck, discussing the need for fire, and demonstrating water spraying techniques. Bay ecology allowed the students to hold: shrimp, fish, crabs, comb jellyfish and see a sting ray up close while seining in knee deep water. The scavenger hunt taught students the dangers of trash and pollutants in our bays. Students were made aware of the many endangered species and other animals that use these estuaries for feeding, as a nursery, or as a home.  Fish prints taught students an ancient art form used to record species information before the digital age. Students learned about the parts of a fish and the adaptations that enable fish to live in their niche. Students then were able to create their own fish print. The day was enjoyed by 133 students and 32 counselors/parents.  Students enjoyed a full day of activities and everyone got wet. The students ranged in age from 1st through 7th grade. We plan to continue to offer this unique successful outreach opportunity to the community through partnerships and look forward to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Bay Day 2007.




Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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