Programs Aim to Attract Youth to Outdoors

Programs Aim to Attract Youth to Outdoors
One of the enduring challenges in the environmental movement, at least in this part of Florida, is attracting young people. That's ironic because today's youth will be the ones who will have deal with the results of whatever environmental policy neglect brings to the state that Florida's current aging environmental activists can't persuade those in power to fix. The first step in attracting a younger constituency is to create some buzz that will attract them. That is, why would anyone get involved in caring about the environment who doesn't know anything about it? That's where some programs that target young people come in. A recent round of publicity by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission promotes the Junior Birders program. The package includes a curriculum aimed at third- and fourth-graders that encourages them to discover what birds are in their community, where to look for them and how to identify them under what's called the "bird detective" approach. (more at jr_booklet_sig.pdf) If the students can identify 15 species of birds native to Florida (no parrots, starlings, etc.), they can qualify for the hummingbird level certificate offered under the Wings Over Florida program to attract beginning birders. (To see one, go to The Wings Over Florida program, which first began a special program to appeal to beginning birders in 2003, has other levels that will offer c…
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