Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge works with Inner City St. Louis Students
Midwest Region, September 24, 2011
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Refuge Biologist Wedge Watkins explains the importance of pollinators to students from St. Louis Artworks.
Refuge Biologist Wedge Watkins explains the importance of pollinators to students from St. Louis Artworks. - Photo Credit: USFWS Tim Haller

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge hosted students from the St. Louis Artworks to the Cora Island Unit of the Refuge on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. St. Louis Artworks is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating inner city students about careers in the arts.


Refuge Biologist Wedge Watkins and Visitor Services Specialist Tim Haller hosted the students to the Cora Island Unit. This 1,265 acre Unit of the refuge is located just north of St. Louis approximately 20 minutes from downtown. The students were given an introduction to the refuge and the opportunity to capture various insects so they could learn about pollinators. Watkins informed the students about the vital role pollinators contribute to the health of the environment.

The students collected various specimens of pollinators to take to the University of Missouri St. Louis to get a closer look at them under the scanning electron microscope.

The presentation will soon see reciprocal benefits as the students will be designing interpretive panels about pollinators to be placed on the refuge. Through a generous grant from Monsanto Corporation the students are paid to create two interpretive panels. The grant will also pay for the production of the interpretive panels.

The refuge plans another visit with the students on Oct. 29, 2011 to the Cora Island Unit in conjunction with a Missouri River Cleanup with Missouri River Relief. Missouri River Relief, a non-profit dedicated to cleaning and protecting the Missouri River, volunteered to take the students on their first boat ride on the Missouri River. After the boat ride the students will depart the boat onto Cora Island.

The refuge looks forward to the completion of the interpretive panels slated for early December. “These students will learn valuable work skills through this project,” proclaims Priscilla Block, Executive Director of St. Louis Artworks. “It’s important to get them on the ground doing the actual work and not just studying about it.”

Contact Info: Tim Haller, 573-441-2799, tim_haller@fws.gov
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