Tuesday, July 17, 2012

USFWS Internship - Spring 2012 Outreach & Education - Part 2

Zach Moore
More about my outreach and education experiences . . . .

The final assignment for spring quarter involved teaching Komachin Middle School students about the use of technology in biological field work during their field trips at Tolmie State Park. I hosted a radio-telemetry activity with the students in the forest section of the park, starting off by introducing the equipment, explaining how it works, and discussing how the data gathered with the equipment is used for conservation work. After that brief introduction, it was all hands-on fun as the students played a game of radio telemetry “hide-and-seek”. For this game, one or two students put on radio collars (representing “wild" animals), while the rest of the group searched for them using antennas and receivers. This was the most fun outreach project of my internship and each group of students really enjoyed the activity. By the end of the lesson, I could swear that some of the students could use the equipment as well as I could. This was a great way to take today’s tech-savvy students and connect those skills to nature and conservation.

Zach describing radio-telemetry equipment
Because the environmental education-based classes that I had taken at The Evergreen State College (TESC) never really gave me a chance to do any real teaching with students, these outreach experiences were extremely beneficial for me. After getting a few lessons under my belt, I began to feel more comfortable in front of students and teaching began to get easier. I soon developed techniques to make each lesson work effectively and my confidence in front of a student audience grew. I ended up providing a diverse curriculum to over 600 elementary and middle school students during this spring quarter! The feedback I received from my supervisor, other educators, and students was all very positive.

I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was fun, rewarding, and only strengthened my desire to pursue this field of work. I plan on taking more education-type classes during my next 2 years at TESC and seeking out similar experience-building opportunities in the future!

--Zach Moore, USFWS Intern/Fisheries Technician

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