WWA’s Environmental education efforts:
WWA participates in a wide variety of educational programs throughout the year, from spring sport shows, to Learn to Hunts programs, to organized youth hunts, and outdoor events like the Wisconsin Outdoor Education Expo, which was held for eight years in Beaver Dam. Volunteers from our Marshland Chapter hosted our interactive display, implementing the Expo’s “Bringing the Classroom to Life…” motto, by providing the youth participants hands-on experience in duck & goose calling, layout blinds, and all things hunting related. At sports shows, we will usually combine local volunteers and staff, to be able to provide local information to potential members and volunteers, as well as expert insight on broader issues the association may be working on, or even present information to the audience through the seminar stage at such events, as well.
In 2014 & 2015, WWA became involved in the Sand Lake Conservation Camp at Camp Bird in Marinette County. WWA Project Director Peter Ziegler and Association President Bruce Urben were invited to present information to youth campers at the Sandlake conservation camp at Camp Bird in central Marinette County. Camp bird has been holding youth camps since 1952, and is owned by Marinette County parks commission. The conservation camp is attended by 100 youth in grades 6-8 for a 3-day 2-night camp and is intended to give the campers a positive outdoor experience. Anne Bartels, camp director and Marinette county LWCD director has put together a curriculum presented by conservation professionals from various conservation agencies. Peter & Bruce represented WWA and presented information about wetland management and identification, waterfowl identification, biology and morphology and included a hike into a wetland on the property.
In 2015 & 2016, WWA took on a new partnership, and became a sponsor for the Wisconsin Envirothon, one of North America’s largest high school environmental education competitions. Click the link to see a video detailing the 2015 event. WWA is proud to add this activity to our slate of environmental education works. To learn more about this event, check out the materials, below:
Historical perspectives – Environmental charter schools effort:
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 now-retired executive director, 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 Wisconsin Green Schools Network, to further expand the program of environmental charter school assistance, beyond our financial capabilities. This program, now lead by the WWF, has active field staff working at 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 on, under the guidance of these partners and we will always be proud of our pioneering efforts that gave it its start.