WWA's Educational Programs
WWA and our volunteers are active in many outdoor education outreach efforts.
Learn To Hunts: WWA was among a select group of four conservation groups in the state who were accepted into a 2011 test program designed to help expand participation in the WI DNR Learn to Hunt program. WWA has been a leader in this program in the past, hosting the first ever “Learn to Field-Hunt Geese” program, back in 2009, and during the test program we were able to double the amount of WDNR Learn to Hunt waterfowl volunteer mentor teams/events over what we had in previous years.
In 2013 WWA over-achieved again, hosting more than double the amount of Learn to Hunt Waterfowl attendees than all other similar efforts, combined, including several events at the great Horicon Marsh! More than 60 people had their first waterfowling experience, at a Learn to Hunt event, with a WWA mentor during the 2013 season, and even more participated in one of several
Youth Hunts/Education: Many of our local chapters host a Youth Hunt in their areas. Our volunteer chapters do many other youth-related works in their respective areas of the state, including duck & goose-banding, invasive species collections, waterfowl education days, duck & goose calling instruction, and waterfowl identification instruction.
Many of our local volunteer leaders are active in hunter safety programs as well, teaching the basics of being a safe, ethical, and responsibly outdoors person. One of our unique outreach efforts has taken place over the last eight years in Beaver Dam, at the Wisconsin Outdoor Education Expo. At this outdoor event over two days in May, WWA volunteers interact with more than 5,000 elementary school kids, and expose these children from a wide variety of backgrounds to the sights and sounds of waterfowl calls, blinds, and other related outdoors gear – as they have a chance to “try & do”, with the assembled demonstration items.
Additionally, WWA was a pioneer in the development of environmental charter schools in Wisconsin, from 2002 to 2012. This process of working with charter schools began with Jeff Nania, at River Crossing School, near Portage, WI. From this early start, the book, Hands On, Feet Wet, was written by River Crossing teacher, Victoria Rydberg, with excerpts from WWA field staff. This book, and the River Crossing model, became a template for environmental charter school programs, both across the state, and the nation. The students themselves make a positive contribution to improving our state’s natural landscape, with activities ranging from removing invasive species, actively working on controlled burns, and taking wetland restorations from the planning stage through to completion. As this program grew, from one school, to three, and then ten, it became clear our reach was a limiting factor, and thus, this expansion lead WWA to partner with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the Green Charter Schools Network, to further expand the program of environmental charter school assistance. This program, now lead by the WWF, has active field staff working at many local schools, spread across the state, and each week trained field staff assists the teachers of these classes, by leading hands-on field activities. This program continues to grow, and we will always be proud of our pioneering efforts.
Disabled Hunting Education & Opportunities: WWA has one unique education-based project: our long-term efforts at Abrams. This property, the only property that WWA owns and holds, is located about 10 minutes north of Green Bay, currently encompasses 152 acres, and is a mix of wetland mitigation, natural wetlands, riverine, mixed upland, and woodland habitats. This property is open to the public for hunting and other recreational pursuits, as well as use by local students of all ages, as an outdoor laboratory. Our team of volunteers in Green Bay is highly focused on this property, and is in the midst of a multi-phase process of developing the property, both for further use in education, but also with a special focus on accessibility for disabled individuals, providing unique access and custom blinds for hunters who might not otherwise get to experience the outstanding waterfowl hunting that is available near the waters of Green Bay. We have partnered with Oconto County, Challenge the Outdoors, the Lumberjack RC & D Corporation, and the State of Wisconsin Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, as well as many private companies and individuals, to accomplish the many tasks that are required at this property, to bring it to its full potential.
How Can You Help: What can you do to help these education programs? Elect to join WWA as a Member, then contact us to find out where the next outreach event, Learn to Hunt, or Youth Hunt is happening near you! We can help connect you to existing teams of Mentors, or help you with the process of setting up your own team. Or simply donate to WWA; your dollars can help us with entry fees, equipment purchases, and staff mileage to be able to bring these programs and outreach efforts, all over the great state of Wisconsin.
By making a donation you'll be helping not only educate Wisconsin's youth in environmental education, but also creating more wetland restorations for Wisconsin's waterfowl.