Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
The Voyagers of Finger Lakes State Park
Midwest Region, May 3, 2009
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One of the most challenging yet rewarding outreach events we at Columbia NFWCO participate in is the Wonders of Wildlife (WOW) School.  This weekend long outdoor school is designed to introduce families to all that the outdoors has to offer.  People come to camp, learn about nature, and have an all around good time.  WOW participants have a wide variety of classes to choose from, so they can really tailor the weekend to meet their individual interests.  One of the many classes offered was Canoeing.     


Students of the WOW Canoeing class had the opportunity to release their inner explorers while learning the basics of canoeing.  The class began with a short, but important, safety lecture, covering personal flotation devices, how to safely enter and exit a canoe, and the importance of keeping a low center of gravity while in the canoe.  Next we did a quick run-down of canoe and paddle anatomy, and instructor Colby Wrasse demonstrated a few basic canoeing strokes. 


The students were anxious to hit the water, so we loaded up the canoes and began our journey.  The narrow, twisting arms of the lake made for great paddling practice, while the numerous submerged trees forced the budding paddlers to make quick turns.  Wrasse paddled alongside providing helpful advice as the students worked on their technique.  Experience levels of the students varied greatly from some who have taken several canoe trips to others who have never stepped foot in a canoe,  but by the end of the day everyone had improved their paddling techniques while having a great time.  The class culminated with a short canoe race, with the winning team receiving a “Fishes of the Missouri River” deck of playing cards.  Every canoe team was able to safely navigate the canoe racecourse and turned in great times.  Hopefully these students will take the skills they learned and continue to paddle.


Colby Wrasse  

Contact Info: Colby Wrasse, 573-234-2132 x30, colby_wrasse@fws.gov
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