Delivery of Year 1 of Next Generation Outreach began in Mecklenburg County, Virginia schools on January 8, 2019 and continued in schools throughout the region until the semester ended in May. The 90-minute programs, complete with quality taxidermy that included full-sized animals: black bear, white tailed buck, beaver, coyote, red fox, owl, river otter, and turkey, along with furs, skulls, antlers and calls, were brought into 59 schools. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 were brought into a large assembly location at the school, accompanied by their teachers, and often principals and visitors, to listen to the exciting presentation by our educator, Mike Roberts. Dispersed throughout the presentations were animal calls such as the barred owl, great-horned owl, wild turkey, and elk to the delight of the listeners.
Feedback from teacher surveys has been overwhelmingly positive. We requested that teachers provide suggestions on ways the program could be improved. One suggestion was to improve the audio since the educator had his back to some of audience at times as he walked back and forth in front of them. To remedy this, we purchased a lapel microphone system and amplifier. This corrected the issue completely. A second suggestion was to have more visuals to aid the presentation in places. This is being addressed now and will be ready when the fall semester begins.
Next Generation Outreach programs began in a different region on September 3, 2019, in the Southwest counties of Virginia. This is a rural region of Virginia that is very similar to our home region of Southern Virginia. Schools in this region too, lack the “extras” that are found in larger urban schools. We are visiting schools in the counties of Smyth, Washington, Russell, Wise, Scott, Buchanan, Lee, Tazewell and Dickenson from September through early December. Scheduling for 2020 programs will take place during November and December.
In January of 2020, we will continue our outreach in the Tidewater Region, followed by the Northern Virginia Region. The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation will continue to schedule programs until all schools in Virginia have been offered a chance to participate.
The following numbers provide the results of our Next Generation Outreach brought to the schools during 2019. We far exceeded our own projections and expectations. Much of the material provided matches topics on Virginia’s environmental science Standards of Learning for Grades 3-5.
Number of schools visited: 119
Number of individual programs conducted: 125
Total number of students/teachers reached: 19,688
Average number of students per program: 158
Please consider a donation to our Youth Outreach. Click here to donate. WBWF is a 501(C)(3) non-profit.
2019 funding sources are as follows:
Shelton H. Short, Jr. Trust
VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries
VA Forestry Educational Foundation
Jerry Epps Landscaping
John and Susan Mullin