SacredHunter.org is a nonprofit organization and traditions outdoor mentoring dot org is a part of that organization that mentors young men. Through traditional outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and foraging, Traditions Outdoor Mentoring strives to teach respect, empathy, and accountability, along with a deeper understanding of nature, to each teenage enrolled in the program.
Getting high school students excited about science can be a challenge, especially if it requires staying after school. But at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon, Vermont, there’s one biology teacher who has developed a program that has students actually looking forward to staying after school. Brad Frohlof, an avid deer hunter and 30-year teacher at Otter Valley, has infused his love for the outdoors into a unique, hands-on program that introduces students to the art and science of taxidermy.
Ecology is the study of plants and animals and their relationship with the environment. Winter ecology is simply studying the relationship of plants and animals in the winter. Signs of wildlife in winter are sparse and often subtle, but to the trained eye, they tell a rich story of survival. At the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Woodstock, the study of our natural environment continues through Vermont's winter months. Teachers come to the Institute in winter to learn how to use outdoor activities to help their students develop a better understanding of their environment. We spent some time recently at the Institute with a group of teachers to learn a little about the world around us in winter.
For the Adopt-a-Salmon Family program at the CP Smith School in Burlington, two fourth grade classes raised a salmon family from eggs. Five months later the one-inch fry were ready for release into Mill Brook in Jericho. OUTDOOR JOURNAL visited the school to see what the students learned from raising the fish and then attended the release, complete with ceremonial reading of poems by the students.
The Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Program that is held at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge was developed back in 1976 to pass on the traditions of waterfowl hunting to young people. Here they are introduced to all aspects of the sport as avid waterfowl hunters and refuge volunteers share their knowledge of everything from decoy selection and placement to blind construction and species identification. It's an opportunity for kids to learn the correct way to hunt and to be safe, ethical and successful hunters. And it's the only program of its type in Vermont.
- Mark Sweeny
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
371 North River Street
Swanton, VT 05488
Along the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which runs the length of the Connecticut River from northern New Hampshire to the Long Island Sound, sits the Montshire Museum of Science. Montshire is an amalgam of the last two syllables of Vermont and New Hampshire. It's a place where people can learn all year round about the outdoor world around us. There are four aquaria at the museum that showcase aquatic life found in both cold water streams and warm ponds. There are nature trails that contain exhibits of insect life, flora and fauna of Vermont. The museum's Science Park is a collection of dozens of hands-on experiments that uses the outdoors as a living experimental library. There are programs for school groups, teachers, children and families. And it doesn't close down in the winter. One of the events the museum held this past winter was an igloo building day. Bert Yankielun is an engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. He lent his expertise in cold weather snow to help kids learn about how frozen water and air can be used to build a shelter. But, Bert says, it's not a survival class. "I'm more interested in teaching people how to have fun with winter," he explains, "[how to] make friends with winter, do something that's extremely inexpensive that you can do as a family or with friends." In this segment, we join Bert Yankielun at the Montshire Museum of Science for a day of igloo building.