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Friends Groups: San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society Employees are Out and About
California-Nevada Offices , May 12, 2017
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(From left to right) Fish and Wildlife Officer Phan, Wildlife Society Associate, Natalie Minor, and Student Conservation Association Intern, Rain Credle, enjoyed meeting new people at Bass Pro's Spring Event in San Jose.
(From left to right) Fish and Wildlife Officer Phan, Wildlife Society Associate, Natalie Minor, and Student Conservation Association Intern, Rain Credle, enjoyed meeting new people at Bass Pro's Spring Event in San Jose. - Photo Credit: US FWS

By Natalie Minor, Education Outreach Associate

 

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center in Alviso, California, provides free environmental education programs to schools and the public to teach them about local wildlife, conservation issues, and local environments. The Living Wetlands program, which is run out of the center in partnership with the City of San Jose, seeks to educate the public about the importance of wetland ecosystems and water conservation through organized school trips, weekend programs, and outreach events. The education outreach associate is charged with attending these outreach events, and using them as a tool to connect people with their local wildlife refuges while also teaching them about the importance of protecting natural habitats.

Here are a few of the outreach events that the Refuge participated in this past year:

Pumpkins in the Park—We had a fun time celebrating fall at Guadalupe River Park where we got to help visitors make bird masks and learn about the variety of birds that reside at the refuge.

Visitors not only got to see pictures of some of the animals at the refuge, but also get up close and personal with some taxidermy animals. These individuals provided examples of the unique biological traits that many wetland species rely on to survive here! Over 5000 people attended the event, and it was a big hit.

Wildflower Day—For April Fool’s Day we went to Ulistac Natural Area and participated in a community event that gave local conservation organizations the chance to interact with the public and provide them with information about native plants, habitats, and animals! We gave kids the chance to decorate their own biodegradable seed pots with non-toxic watercolors, and then filled them with organic soil and native California poppy seeds! While visitors were decorating their pots, we got to talk to them about the amazing weekend programs and special events offered by the Refuge, such as our upcoming Mother’s Day Event on May 13th.

Earth Day on the Bay—The Marine Science Institute in Redwood City hosted this event, and over 2500 people attended. It was held on Earth Day 2017, and a number of conservation organizations were present, each with a conservation-minded activity or two for guests to participate in. Don Edwards brought along an interactive decomposition timeline in an attempt to encourage mindful consumerism and promote more sustainable alternatives to disposable plastics. For younger kids we had a waste-sorting bean bag toss game to make recycling and composting more understandable and fun!

We enjoyed all of the outreach events that we got to participate this year, and we made many meaningful connections with both local and visiting members of the public. Our goal at these events is always to positively impact the lives of everyone who stops by our booth, and hopefully teach them something new about the Refuge, wildlife and conservation. We look forward to seeing what other outreach events 2017 will bring.

Natalie Minor has been an education outreach associate with Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge since September 2016. Natalie’s position through the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society and is funded through a grant from the City of San Jose.


Contact Info: Genie Moore, 408-262-5513, Ext. 100, genie_moore@fws.gov
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