Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Columbia’sSecond Annual W.O.W. Event a Huge Success
Midwest Region, June 2, 2009
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Wonders of the Outdoor World (W.O.W.) is a national outdoor recreation and conservation school. The soul purpose is to connect people with nature. During the first weekend of May 2009, Columbia National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NFWCO) hosted the second annual Columbia W.O.W. School event. Last year’s event took place on the Missouri River, a vast and under-utilized natural resource located near Columbia. The goal of this class was to raise awareness of the recreational opportunities along the Missouri River and its floodplain. Hiking, bird watching, river fishing, recreational boating and mushroom hunting were just a few of the classes offered in the past. Unfortunately the event could not be held on the river this year, heavy rains in the Missouri River watershed caused the river to rise thirteen feet in one night, just days before the event. Luckily, the coordinators of this event were on their toes and the venue was changed in just two days. Staff from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources gladly helped ready Finger Lakes State Park. Some quick rearranging and modification of classes led to a successful event, even though we could not showcase the Missouri River. 


During the weekend 150 W.O.W. participants were immersed in nature; at their campsites they were woken by the spring songs of Missouri’s birds and the smell of camp-fire smoke. Throughout the day, as they attended a range of nature related classes, they were surrounded by ponds, lakes, and sunshine. In their classes they learned outdoor skills such as how to fish, where to find mushrooms and how to cook with a Dutch oven.


During the provided meals, adults swapped stories of the day while children played in the lake and built sand castles.  After dark, everyone gazed into the night sky as they were told stories about the constellations by an astronomer.


The wide range of classes provided were instructed by staff from Columbia NFWCO, Columbia Ecological Services Field Office, Bass Pro Shops W.O.W. office, Big Muddy NFWR, Missouri Department of  Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Conservation. Columbia NFWCO is grateful for the assistance of these organizations, which made this event a success. We would also like to express our appreciation to the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Natural Resources, The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society, Missouri Waterfowl Association, Whitetails Unlimited, Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Gerbes, and Pepsi-Cola for their assistance as well.


 This event was a huge success in part due to the passion we all have for the outdoors and our drive to teach others about the wonders of our natural world. 

Contact Info: Cliff Wilson, (573) 234-2132 ext. 173, cliff_wilson@fws.gov
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