Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Big Muddy Staff Teaches Teachers
Midwest Region, July 10, 2003
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Big Muddy National Wildlife took an opportunity to work with several other cooperating state and federal agencies to educate teachers through a Missouri River Conservation and Culture course. This course was offered the second week in July through Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. The week-long, two-credit-hour course was designed for teachers but was open to all graduate and undergraduate students looking to learn about the Missouri River. The course was attended by teachers from across Missouri.

Teachers turned students had a busy week learning about the Missouri river. They visited the Lewis and Clark Museum in St. Charles, the Museum of Westward expansion in St. Louis, and the Missouri state capital on the banks of the river. They also visited Lewis and Clark campsites along the lower Missouri, most notable Clarks Hill, a site at the junction of the Missouri and Osage rivers were Clark took observations and made significant notes in his journal. This site has just recently become part of the Missouri State Park system.

One of the most popular activities during the week was the opportunity for them to actually get out on the Missouri River and enjoy all it has to offer. During the day long outing students were transported by boat to various locations on the river. At these locations various specialist were on hand to talk about the river, challenges in management and its importance to fish and wildlife resources.

Maureen Gallagher, wildlife biologist, and Tim Haller, park ranger were stationed at a large sandbar to talk about Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and research being done on aquatic turtles. False map turtles and red eared sliders were available for teachers to get acquainted with as Maureen explained them and talked about ongoing research being conducted by the refuge. Teachers were fascinated by the turtles, surprised by their longevity and concerned about their fate. This was the first time many of them had ever seen an aquatic turtle.

Fish and Wildlife personnel were helping at other stations as well. Employees of the Columbia Fisheries Research Office in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation were showing teachers research being done on Missouri river fish. They set out different types of nets including a trawl net system unique to the Missouri river. Teachers were able to get up close to sturgeon, catfish and carp, as well as many other diverse fish species found in the Missouri river.

The teachers had an exciting week and will carry that enthusiasm back to their classrooms in August.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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