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San Pablo Bay NWR Connects Urban Youth to the Outdoors with the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile Program
California-Nevada Offices , April 17, 2016
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San Pablo Bay NWR Manager Don Brubaker poses with kids on the airboat
San Pablo Bay NWR Manager Don Brubaker poses with kids on the airboat - Photo Credit: Carmen Minch
Students from Hamilton Elementary getting the hang of paddling together.
Students from Hamilton Elementary getting the hang of paddling together. - Photo Credit: Carmen Minch
Happy paddlers
Happy paddlers - Photo Credit: Carmen Minch

By Carmen Minch

Eighty fourth graders from the city of Novato were the first to experience canoeing a soon-to-be portion of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge recently. In a partnership with Wilderness Inquiry, San Pablo Bay NWR was able to allow students from Hamilton Elementary in Novato, Calif., to visit and see the refuge from a different perspective – from the water. 

 

A piece of property adjacent to the refuge called the Dickson Unit is currently owned by Sonoma Baylands Trust and will be transferred to the San Pablo Bay NWR this year. A boat ramp for man-powered water crafts such as canoes and kayaks was recently constructed on the site and the students from Hamilton Elementary were the first to try it out.

In addition to paddling, the students learned about wildlife in the area, the tools biologists and managers use in their job, water quality sampling, and participated in team building exercises.

Wilderness Inquiry, an organization based in Minnesota, collaborates with federal, state, and local agencies to bring urban youth outdoors through canoeing and land-based activities.

Wilderness Inquiry provided the canoes, instructors, and some of the activities while San Pablo Bay Refuge Staff provided the venue and two of the activities. Students, parents, and teachers received a presentation on the refuge airboat, learning about its uses. At the end of the program, students received an Every Kid in the Park pass.


Contact Info: Carmen Minch, 510-792-0222 ext. 476, carmen_leong-minch@fws.gov
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