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Acknowledgments Introduction. We at the Center for Wildlife Law have many people and groups to thank for the continued success of the Wild Friends program.
But we would especially like to thank those who made it possible to update and reissue this Wild Friends Manual. Many elements of the program have changed and matured sinceand rewrite was definitely overdue. Sincere thanks go to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Eluid Martinez, whose faith in the young kids of New Mexico has led to his agency's support of the Wild Friends, and in particular, the Wild Friends Manual update and placement online.
We would also like to thank the Deer Creek Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri for their support of the Manual's updating. None of this could be possible without our legislative sponsors and supporters, especially Senator Tom Rutherford and Speaker of the House Raymond Sanchez, as well as Sen. Ben Altimirano, Reprs. Mimi Stewart and Max Coll. Deepest thanks also to the Frost Foundation for their support and for making it possible to continue the Wildlife Summit. As anyone replicating this fantastic program will see, the real work is done by the teachers, mentors and volunteers, including parents.
The dedicated and tireless teachers that get involved in this program are the ones who make it hit home for the students, providing at once an educational, exciting and inspirational lesson that students never forget. HJM 34 requests a study of the connection between violence to wildlife and violence toward humans, especially by youth.
Finally the bill is called for consideration. The Speaker of the House presents the bill, thanking the Wild Friends for their hard work and serious thought on such an important issue. Several other legislators speak in turn, all voicing support of HJM The vote is called, and as the voting board slowly lights up it becomes apparent that HJM 34 will pass unanimously. Suddenly and spontaneously, the entire House of Representatives jumps to its feet and turns toward the surprised students in the gallery in a standing ovation to honor the Wild Friends. Our nation's young people and wildlife have something in common.
Both are increasingly at risk in their respective environments. There are no easy solutions, but Wild girls Albuquerque New Mexico active involvement and persistence, an educated and visionary public can direct its destiny by directing its public officials on what needs to be done.
Encouraging young people, still non-voters, to get involved early, can make a difference for the ultimate good of all of us. Inthe Center for Wildlife Law at the University of New Mexico started an educational program called "Wild Friends" to teach young people that they can make a difference for wildlife, the natural world, and their own lives. Through hands-on experiences with wildlife issues, law and policy, teachers and others are invited to share their wisdom, skills and experience with the younger generation.
Young people naturally connect with wildlife, and this natural connection le to genuine interest in doing something to help wildlife. The Wild Friends concept is a tool for countering lack of interest among youth about the democratic process and in talking action in the race against time to save imperiled wildlife.
If you are looking for something new and "wild," we have developed a flexible, creative program for students in grades It can be adapted to a classroom setting and integrated into an existing curriculum, or offered as an after-school activity. It works for private prep schools or urban public schools; the only essential element is an interested teacher.
Chapter 1 Why become a "Wild Friend? Wild Friends are students, teachers and many others who want to do something to preserve wildlife. They explore why and how our wildlife is at-risk today, and how protecting wildlife and habitat are complex issues.
They learn how law and policy affect wildlife conservation today. Then Wild Friends develop strategies and activities through which they act. And they have fun, too! The goal of the Wild Friends program is to instill in students a sense of excitement about, and responsibility for, participating in the democratic process by engaging them in wildlife conservation projects in real-life settings with tangible outcomes.
Through role playing and other activities, students discover the reasons why different groups of citizens have different opinions about wildlife conservation. Wild Friends recognize that people often become divided in their opinions and actions even though they may share common goals for the future.
Wild Friends promote the idea that people should try to understand one another and that we all are better served by finding the common ground. Wild Friends everywhere receive the program newsletter, The Wild News, and are invited to the "Wildlife Summit," a wildlife conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico for young people.
See Appendices for sample newsletter and summit program. Wild Friends also has a home featuring the newsletters, photos, program activities, legislation, and more. Teachers and group sponsors establish eligibility requirements for individual Wild Friends groups, such as regular attendance at meetings or minimum grade criteria. Participants can become a part of other Wild Friends around the state and country by applying for official ed membership cards from the Center for Wildlife Law see example below. Teachers submit a -up form with the atures and ages of the students to the Center.
Each student must pledge to carry out at least two actions listed on the back of the membership card. Every name and card becomes part of the Wild Friends database. Membership -up forms and cards are available from:.
All participants are encouraged to wear official Wild Friends T-shirts on field-trips and at program-sponsored activities. Sinceup to 2, students have worn the bright turquoise Wild Friends T-shirts Wild girls Albuquerque New Mexico our Wild Friends logo to meet legislators and public officials at public functions and on field trips around the state. While observing a Wild Friends group in action at the New Mexico Legislature, a veteran lobbyist commented, "Wild Friends are the most visible youth group up here. When you are starting your Wild Friends program, you may consider increasing your visibility by investing in T-shirts.
The Center for Wildlife Law can provide you with a copy of the logo suitable for a T-shirt transfer. During the first two years, our T-shirts were donated by, and featured the name of, the Bernalillo County Parks and Recreation Department. You might want to consider a similar option. A Wild Friends program can be as big or small as your school or community desires and can support. It can be started by a teacher in a classroom setting, in an after-school club by youth group sponsor, in a senior or intergenerational program, a community recreation program, a public library, a university-based educational program, even a youth correctional facility or alternative school.
Ina home-schooler group started a program. You can partner with any organization having the appropriate staff, expertise and resources to help you plan and carry out a Wild Friends program. Members of local organizations may welcome the opportunity to help organize a program for young people focusing on wildlife and citizenship activities. I appreciate the work you are doing through the Wild Friend program to educate students and the larger community about wildlife issues.
Increased public awareness about these matters is essential to ensuring the future well-being of the environment. I commend your program's commitment to achieving this goal and to teaching students about the political process. The experience that Wild Friends students gain is invaluable. Again, I applaud the work you are doing to promote civic involvement among students.
I hope that you will continue to keep me informed of your activities. Best regards. Teachers should begin by talking with other teachers and school administrators to gain support for the idea of a Wild Friends program. Ultimately, you will be networking with legislators and other elected officials. Before you do, identify a couple of important issues that you and your students are interested in.
Often these organizations have state and national affiliates that can be ready resources. Your Wild Friends program can be a venue for their presentations and educational materials, and their members may be potential volunteers and mentors for students. Some ideas for contact organizations are listed in Appendix 2. Groups that assisted in the pilot Wild Friends program are listed in Chapter 9. Camy Condon.
Outreach Coordinator. There is a special joy in arriving at the door of a classroom, carrying an array of photos, posters and newsletters which feature whooping cranes, Mexican gray wolves, eagles and bears, green salamanders, little Gila trout and wondrous falcons. Most students are quickly interested in these elegant critters who share their habitat, and even an outside visitor can observe the ways young adults feel empathy with Wild Friends such as these.
Students quickly volunteer ideas about actions they could take to help wildlife benefit from local, protective actions. Teens sense a rapport with raptors, a sympathy with snakes and feelings for falcons. It doesn't take long for pictures, stories and the reality of threatened habitats to create a lively dialogue and excite the imaginations of these potential lawmakers. And that is what they do. Make new laws or memorials and call attention to the need of critters often forgotten by state politicians.
When successful, the effect of this student action is a powerful dose of self-esteem and pride in a legitimate accomplishment.
Identifying one critical teacher, at any school level, is the key to sustaining involvement. In every school there is always one science, civics, biology, social studies, or English teacher who happens to love wildlife issues.
That teacher is easy to identify by stopping in at the office of the principal. I tell the class stories, show pictures, report on past actions taken by peers and invite them to consider being Wild Friends for one school year. When students up they receive a membership card and agree to the pledge and to taking two concrete actions.
Middle schools junior high are our primary interest, but we have recruited students in high schools and elementary schools when a particular teacher expresses interest. Enthusiasm for the potential of action on behalf of wildlife is absolutely crucial. If the outreach speaker is eager and positive, the students will carry it on from there. A careful balance between suggesting ideas and listening to fresh potential actions is basic. Wild Friends in Action. One way to kick off is to have a grand opening.Wild girls Albuquerque New Mexico
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