To help school teachers get a bit more wild in the classroom, Idaho Fish and Game is offering three new workshops with a virtual online format.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Fish and Game is offering its Project WILD courses on subjects such as bird migrations, ecosystems or turkeys, for educators and others without having to show up in-person for the most part. Prior to the pandemic, courses were offered regionally and required in-person workshops.
“The difference lately is with our COVID restrictions. Last year we went to an online forum,” said James Brower, regional communications manager for Fish and Game. “It’s a work-study at your own kind of pace. It’s really different than we’ve ever done before. It’s a new technique that we’re using.”
The first course starting this month is “WILD about Bird Migrations” and does have one in-person session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Intermountain Bird Observatory on the Boise River where participants will take part in bird banding and a Flying WILD festival.
Cost is $20 and includes a “Flying WILD” educator’s guide. Optional university credit is available for $60.
The “WILD about Turkeys” workshop begins Sept. 30 and students are able to work at their own pace. The cost is $20 with an extra fee for college credit.
The third workshop is “Idaho Ecosystems” conducted through the Idaho Forest Products Commission and starts Nov. 2. This $45 course has three Zoom sessions online with the rest of the course conducted on your own.
Brower said the Project WILD workshops help teachers integrate wildlife instruction into their classrooms and give teachers an easy way to get recertification credits.
“This does qualify as a continuing education credit for those teachers,” he said. “At the same time hopefully it educates them to bring wildlife topics into the classroom. It revolves around all the STEM aspects of the science, math and statistics and some engineering kind of things that we teach using wildlife as your backdrop.”
Brower said the preferred method of instruction is in-person because some of the classes, such as “WILD about Bears” were done in an outdoor setting at Harriman State Park.
“We still love that face-to-face interaction and getting teachers out there to talk with each other and show and demonstrate some of the activities we do and be outdoors with them,” he said. “They can hopefully take those tools with them back to the classroom. Given the whole COVID situation we’ve had to sort of switch gears.”
For more information, go online to register-ed.com/programs/idaho/187-project-wild-workshops or idahoforests.org/event/idaho-ecosystems-with-wild-wet-and-plt-nov.
Contact Fish and Game wildlife educator at email@example.com, or call (208) 863-3236.