A Talk on the Wild Side.
|Learning to ID birds. Photo by Julia Scruggs/USFWS|
Eight young people between the ages of 14 and 18 spent three days this month at a National Wildlife Refuge in Texas learning what it takes to be a federal or state game warden.
"Everyone wants to know what it takes to be a federal game warden," says Officer Chris Davis of Texas Chenier Plain National Wildlife Refuge Complex wildlife law enforcement staff. "One of the main reasons for doing this camp was to provide young people with a realistic experience that was fun and safe."
Midwest Region: Mentoring Tomorrow’s Federal Wildlife Officers
Texas Chenier Plain wildlife law enforcement staff hosted the Youth Game Warden Camp with the help of Texas Parks and Wildlife. "Federal and state game wardens work closely together and are very dependent on each other, so this really was a realistic introduction for those participants," Davis says.
Participants spent a lot of time learning “in the field” at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Equipped with a law enforcement “belt and uniform,” they practiced identifying birds in flight, fish in the water, and snakes and other reptiles on land -- what an officer in the field would have to do.
|Learning to ID fish. Photo by Julia Scruggs/USFWS|
"Programs like the Youth Game Warden Camp also serve as recruitment for future conservation officers,” Davis adds.
Scenario-based fishing and hunting compliance checks gave the kids a good opportunity to apply their newly learned skills.
A K9 demonstration and deer decoy operation introduced them to tools that are helpful in enforcing laws that protect wildlife. And several speakers and presenters shared their knowledge and experiences as career wildlife law enforcement officers.
"It was gratifying to see the responses of the kids who participated," says Davis. "They really got into it and retained the information provided."
The camp was made possible with the help of the Friends of Anahuac Refuge.