Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Indiana PFW Coordinator Joins Sullivan County Students for a Day on the Wabash River
Midwest Region, October 4, 2012
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On October 4, 2012, Indiana Partners for Fish and Wildlife Coordinator Jeff Kiefer spent a cool, fall day rafting the Wabash River with more than 100 eighth grade students and 40 adult volunteers as part of a 3-day Wabash River Expedition event sponsored by the Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District, targeting more than 300 eighth graders from the Sullivan County area schools. The event, which is in its 12th year, involved rafting a 10-mile stretch of the Wabash River and learning about the ecology and conservation of the river and its unique importance to Indiana and the Midwest region.


Students participated in a scavenger hunt competition along the way, identifying and recording plants, animals, insects, and natural features throughout the trip. Highlights included lunch on a river sandbar, followed by educational presentations by resource professionals and other volunteers on the history of the river, fish and wildlife resources, water quality, and floodway permitting, as well as a hands-on recreational fishing demonstration by Indiana Conservation Officers. Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Coordinator Kiefer, who also serves as the Department of the Interior representative for the Wabash River America's Great Outdoors project, presented information on the fish and wildlife resources of the Wabash River, and the importance of the river corridor and its conservation to migratory birds and aquatic species. Also highlighted was the Healthy Rivers INitiative effort through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other conservation partners, which is the largest land conservation project in Indiana history, with the goal of permanently protecting 43,000 acres along a 94-mile corridor of the Wabash River. The Healthy Rivers Initiative serves as a model for conserving the corridor of a river that has played an important role in the history of Indiana and has recently been named as an All American River through the AGO Rivers Initiative. The Indiana Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program also provided funding support to the Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District to acquire educational supplies for the event.

As students paddled the final stretch into the boat landing at Hutsonville, Ill. at the end of the day, they were tired, wet, and muddy -- but enthused about a day spent on a river to which they now have a more intimate connection.

A link to a news story with photos and a video segment from WTHI-TV in Terre Haute
Contact Info: Jeff Kiefer, (812) 334-4261, Ext. 212, Jeffrey_Kiefer@fws.gov
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