Students, Biodiversity and Wildlife in Iowa

26 September 2010 | News story

Pella Wildlife Company offers opportunities for school age children to become Jr. Wildlife Ambassadors and share information they have learned about biodiversity and the return of extirpated predators to Iowa, USA. From CEC member Rod DeArmond.

Wolves, Black Bears, Cougars and Kids

It has been said that the best ambassadors for wildlife are our children. Educators and biologist are finding the value in working with our youth and including them in opportunities to be active in field research as well as share information they have learned in a public forum.

Pella Wildlife Company, a non profit wildlife conservation organization, has created a Jr. Wildlife Ambassador program where students learn the basics of wildlife management about a specific species and share that information in different public forums. With the return of extirpated predators back to Iowa, students have been presenting programs about black bears, wolves, and cougars. The diversity the predators bring to Iowa wildlife has not been seen in over 100 years.

Teaching school age children the basics of wildlife management, gives them a more balanced education on wildlife. It has been found that as adults, most have only been told and read stories that are based on myths and mythology. School age children enjoy the opportunity to participate and learn about real life situations that will prepare them to make a positive contribution as an adult.

Children K - 12 research black bears, cougars, or wolves at their public and school libraries. Some have assistance from their parents when looking up information online. They first present their programs at senior assisted living facilities where they are greeted with a positive public speaking environment, a chance to build their self-esteem from an appreciative crowd, and a chance to interact with our senior generations. From there they are invited to participate in programs done for civic organizations. The largest forum for the Jr. Ambassadors comes during the Iowa State Fair where Pella Wildlife Company presents 5 wildlife education programs per day during the 11 day run of the fair in a 300 seat theatre.

The programs the Jr. Ambassadors present focus on species identification, habitat needed to survive, conservation status, and the role that species plays in an ecosystem. As this generation of children continues to grow and mature, we hope to see a generation with a more balanced view of wildlife management. The views and opinions of the next generation of conservationist and agriculturalist are being developed today. The future of biodiversity and wildlife management depends upon the time we spend with our school age children now.


For more information contact Ron DeArmond, Pella Wildlife  Company, ron@pellawildlifecompany.org