Capturing Kids with Conservation Connect

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Virtually everyone that enjoys exploring the outdoors as an adult had one or more defining outdoor experience as a kid.  Families often provide that experience with camping trips, days at the beach, hikes in the mountains and so on.  Various organizations are also instrumental in providing these experiences.  Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire and others offer easy introductions to the outdoors for kids of various ages.

Educational environments can also set kids off on an outdoor lifestyle and even outdoor careers.  Current trends in Forest Kindergartens and other types of outdoor schools can get kids going very early.  High intensity educational programs like Outward Bound or the National Outdoor Leadership School pick up older kids and even adults that want to gain an appreciation of the outdoors.

Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set out to create a video-based curriculum for kids ages 9 – 13 that would introduce them to wildlife species and various outdoor-oriented careers.  It’s called Conservation Connect.

Conservation Connect

At this point Conservation Connect has 13 videos in the series:

Each well-produced video features a specialist and footage about a particular wildlife species. For example, during one episode, an educational specialist discusses manatee behavior then shows actual footage of manatees.  That is followed by a law enforcement officer who demonstrates the use of high tech tools used to arrest wildlife poachers. Through these videos, kids are encouraged to get outdoors, watch the wildlife in their own town, and learn more about natural resource conservation and potential outdoor careers.  The series also includes an overview for instructors.

Building an Outdoor and Wildlife Curriculum

Chelsea McKinny Host of Conservation Connection

Chelsea McKinny Host of Conservation Connect

Given these videos as a basis, you can also bring Fish and Wildlife Service employees and other experts into a live discussion with your students.  On the third Wednesday of every month at 2:00pm ET, students have the opportunity to view a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Connect episode and chat with Conservation Professionals Live.  These online broadcasts are delivered from the Conservation Training Network studio located on the National Conservation Training Center campus near Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  You can get more information and access these broadcasts at the Conservation Training Network Broadcast page.  For up-to-date announcements, see the Conservation Connect Facebook page.

These resources can be combined with other classwork and developed into a useful component of either a formal or informal educational experience that is fun and may have a lifetime impact on your kids.

If you use, or plan to use, Conservation Connect in your instructional endeavors, please comment below about what you are doing.

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