June 26, 2018
The American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) is a very powerful teacher education program for wildlife, conservation, hunting, and firearm safety. The lectures on wildlife and stream ecology were very informative and opened my eyes to how just one simple change can affect the whole ecosystem and the surrounding habitats. In addition I found out how conservation is funded, and to be honest we could and should do more. At AWLS I also gained information about aquatic insects as well as how to create my own flies for fly-fishing. In addition after receiving firearm safety I was able to shot an air pistol, a 22 gauge revolver, a 22 gage rifle, and a 20 gauge shotgun while shooting skeet. To be honest, that was my favorite part! I also learned how to shoot a bow accurately and became NASP certified so that I can now teach archery to my students.
One of the most memorable fieldtrips was a trip that we took to Pinedale. There we received a presentation from both the Division of Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management. It was fascinating to see all of the natural gas wells that are already established and then finding out that thousands more have already been approved. The item that caught my attention the most from this filed trip was the affect that the fracking is having on the natural wildlife, especially the pronghorn. With all of the fracking the migration pattern of the pronghorn are being affected and biologist along with high school students are teaming up to help create a suitable habitat for the pronghorn to mate and migrate to for the winter. By the way, pronghorn are only in the United States and have had the same migration pattern for thousands of years.
While at AWLS I was also able to build relationships with teachers from different states and with different backgrounds to expand my resources. These new connections will allow me to bring more wildlife information into my classroom and broaden my students understanding of the world right outside their doors.
I would highly recommend AWLS to any teacher that would like to learn more about wildlife and conservation. This was a very informative experience that I will never forget. I cannot wait to see what my students think as I incorporate my learning into theirs.