COLUMN: Youth Conservation Crew wins award

Michele Olson
Jones County Naturalist

   This past year the Jones County Youth Conservation Crew received the “Chris Holt Youth Environmental Education Award” for an outstanding environmental education program for youth or by youth. The program has proven to be a wonderful way for improving the self-confidence and leadership skills of local youth as they work with their peers through cooperation, gain experience in the field of natural resources, and learn how we all make a difference in our communities.

     The Jones County Conservation Department is still looking for a few more interested area youth to join our 2018 Jones County Youth Conservation Crew. Youth ages 12-19 are encouraged to participate! Upcoming Youth Conservation Crew meeting days at the Central Park Nature Center includes July 26 and Aug. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon and on the evening of Sept. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. Youth are welcome to participate on each day or as many as their schedule will allow.

     Each day, participants will join in leadership activities, educational conservation and ecology opportunities, and hands on service learning. Youth will be engaged in important conservation and park projects while working as a team, gaining self-esteem, and learning social responsibility and respect for the    environment.

     Crew members will be provided work gloves, water and snacks, and a crew member t-shirt.  Members should dress to get dirty and be prepared to do physical hands on conservation work. Equipment needed for projects will be provided on site.

     Projects completed already this year have included building, installing, and monitoring bluebird houses, planting common and swamp milkweed at Central Park for monarch propagation, and learning about purple martins as well as assisting with monitoring Central Parks martin colony. Future meeting dates will include clearing invasive brush and small sapling trees from prairie areas at Central Park, monitoring Central Park’s monarch caterpillar population and milkweed plantings, clearing vines, invasive shrubs, and small saplings from park trails, making a few native bee condos for installation at Central Park, assisting with creating short informational video clips on natural resource topics, and catching and tagging monarch butterflies.

     Youth participating will gain skills to last a lifetime, friendships, natural resource knowledge and abilities, and a stronger connection to the environment. Hours of service may also be used for community service hours at local schools and listed on a resume.

     Please contact Michele at 319-481-7987 or for more information or to register as a crew member. Space is limited — sign-up today!



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