Elk NetworkWyoming Offers Conservation Curriculum for Schools

General | September 29, 2023

Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Brian Nesvik, Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder and Governor Mark Gordon joined forces last week to announce a collaborative initiative to expand conservation education opportunities for Wyoming’s youth under Game and Fish’s Inspire a Kid campaign.

“Wyoming’s conservation heritage is a through-line that goes back generations,” Gordon said. “Ensuring students have opportunities to experience hands-on learning and gain crucial outdoor skills and knowledge should be part of our commitment to tomorrow’s hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.”

Starting in January, schools can participate in Trout in the Classroom, National Archery in the Schools Program and Hunter Education. All three programs align with Wyoming education standards.

“I was fortunate to come from a family that fostered conservation from a young age through hunting and fishing,” Degenfelder said. “I learned life lessons in safety, self-sufficiency, personal responsibility and gained a respect for the greater ecosystem and environment. These opportunities and lessons should be accessible to every student, regardless of their background. These Game and Fish programs are fulfilling that mission. Despite opposition at the federal level, we will fight to protect these programs and their benefit to students and cherished Wyoming values.”

Conservation education programs to be offered include the following:

  • Trout in the Classroom will allow students to explore aquatic ecosystems through hands-on experience. Over a semester, teachers and students raise trout from eggs and release them into approved local waterways. Teachers use a customizable, interdisciplinary curriculum to fit their students’ grade levels. Students will learn about the life cycle and aquatic habitat of trout. This program is made possible by a partnership with Trout Unlimited.
  • National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) teaches students discipline, focus, self-control and patience. This program equips physical education teachers with instructional training and equipment to teach students the sport of archery, focusing on safety and conservation principles. This program is made possible by a partnership with the WYldlife Fund.
  • Hunter education is not a new program for Wyoming, but starting this fall youth will have an increased opportunity to learn about hunter safety and ethics as part of their school curriculum. Beyond firearm safety, the Wyoming Hunter Education curriculum encompasses a holistic, hands-on approach and teaches various topics such as wildlife management and conservation, wilderness survival, wildlife identification, bear safety, field care of game meat, marksmanship and game laws. The Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board in collaboration with Game and Fish recently submitted a proposed hunter education endorsement for licensed teachers that is out for public comment. The deadline to submit public comment on the proposed endorsement is Nov. 1. This program is made possible by a partnership with the WYldlife Fund and Wyoming State Shooting Association.

“These programs play a vital role in fostering conservation ethics in our youngest citizens,” Nesvik said. “If we want to inspire the next generation of conservationists, we must start by teaching them about Wyoming’s wildlife and wild places at a young age. There’s no better place to do this than in our state’s schools and classrooms.”

(Photo credit: Wyoming Game & Fish Department)