STORY AND PHOTOS BY WAYNE TILCOCK
“I always thought science was boring, but now I want to be a biologist.”
It’s a phrase we’ve heard in various forms many times after kids have had a chance to experience one of California Waterfowl’s Education Programs.
With California’s population becoming increasingly urbanized, many of our youth don’t get to experience all of the great natural beauty the state has to offer. As such, they also often know little about all the hard work that hunters have put in to help conserve and rebuild much of that beauty.
This is where CWA can help. Whenever and wherever we teach kids about waterfowl and wetlands, we always let them know about the role of hunters in saving and restoring waterfowl habitat.
Open to all classrooms – but working primarily with urban and Title 1 schools – CWA’s Education Program broadens students’ learning experiences by bringing the outdoors into the classroom with our Junior Duck Stamp and Wood Duck Wonders programs.
Along with interactive presentations about California’s waterfowl and wetland habitats, students get to hold and examine real biological specimens.
For a greater outdoor experience, CWA also offers field programs at several wildlife areas around Northern California.
Starting this year, in a huge break for teachers, all field trips are free to schools – they need only provide transportation, and scholarships are available to help cover those costs.
For more adventurous students, we have also created a new field trip called Marsh Mavens that meets at CWA’s Grizzly Ranch in the Suisun Marsh and includes kayaking as part of the field trip.
For some students, just a single day at one of CWA’s programs can have a lasting effect.
“These kids have never experienced wildlife like this,” said one teacher following a field trip. “Their parents work multiple jobs, so a lot of times they have to take care of their siblings. They don’t have an opportunity to go outside and just be a kid. This is such a wonderful, important experience for them.”
To learn more about CWA’s education programs, click here.