Junior Ikes Program Educates Future Conservation Leaders
The Brown County Chapter (Wisconsin) launched a youth conservation program in 2010. Participants in the Junior Ikes program, which is open to children ages 8-18, meet one Saturday morning each month for two hours. Chapter members plan a different conservation/outdoor activity for each meeting. The intent is to engage youth in the outdoors to help them appreciate – and want to protect – our natural resources. Last year, the children learned about bird watching, built bluebird houses, went snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, hunted for shed deer antlers, fished, learned the art of nature photography, participated in an archery event, went geocaching, and made Christmas gifts out of recycled materials.
The Junior Ikes also participated in the Greater Green Bay Earth Week Coalition’s second annual Green Parade, held in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The children designed and constructed an eco-friendly float that did not require the use of any vehicle or fossil fuels to pull it. The float was constructed on a handmade base made out of recycled materials, including plywood, wheels from old wagons, and an old bed frame. The children designed a camping and fishing scene for the float, which was pulled by one of the youth during the parade. This project educated the children about the importance of conserving natural resources and providing a fun learning opportunity and the chance to participate in a community event that educated others. The Brown County Chapter sponsored a booth at the Eco-Block Party after the Green Parade to talk with community members about the chapter and the Junior Ikes program.
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