FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
are 4-H Wildlife Stewards?
4-H Wildlife Stewards are
trained volunteers working in partnership with Oregon State University
Extension and local schools to create, use, and sustain Habitat Education
Sites on school grounds for science learning. 4-H Wildlife Stewards
have an appreciation for natural sciences and a desire to share their
skills and knowledge with the next generation.
are the qualifications necessary to become a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
A successful applicant should
have the following:
- An appreciation for natural
sciences and a desire to help students develop science skills and
- A general interest and/or
background in wildlife, ecology, and gardening for wildlife in a school
- Flexible daytime hours
- Good "people skills"
and/or experience in a school setting as a parent, teacher, or volunteer.
are the requirements for becoming a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
In order to become 4-H Wildlife
Steward you must:
- Complete and submit a
4-H Wildlife Stewards Application
- Attend the 24-hour basic
training course for 4-H Wildlife Stewards
- Commit to providing 50
hours of volunteer service to a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School
kind of training and support will I receive through Oregon State University
Extension 4-H as a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
All 4-H Wildlife Stewards
receive an introductory 24 hours of training. The training is interactive
and covers science teaching skills, education resources, project management,
native plant selection, habitat design, wildlife ecology and more.
In exchange for this training,
4-H Wildlife Stewards are placed in a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School
to perform 50 hours of volunteer service. 4-H Wildlife Stewards may
help start a new 4-H Wildlife Stewards School as well. Once placed in
a school, 4-H Wildlife Stewards receive continuing support through the
4-H Wildlife Stewards newsletter, periodic training opportunities, access
to 4-H science education kits and curriculum and assistance from the
4-H Wildlife Stewards staff.
are 4-H Wildlife Stewards trained to do?
4-H Wildlife Stewards are
- Work in teams with small
groups or large classes
- Assist teachers in presenting
lessons about the habitat
- Help students map and
inventory their wildlife habitat site
- Help students research
and plan their habitat site
- Participate in planning
meetings with the wildlife Habitat Team
- Help students and teachers
document the project and share their story with the community
- Share their love of nature
and outdoor skills with children
am a teacher at a school. Can I become a 4-H Wildlife Steward Volunteer?
Classroom teachers are welcomed
to apply to become a 4-H Wildlife Steward volunteer and attend the 4-H
Wildlife Stewards training course. However, we strongly recommend that
you recruit a parent or community volunteer to join the program with
you. A parent or community volunteer working in partnership with classroom
teachers help teachers make their dream a reality by providing the extra
support and supervision needed when students are working and learning
in the Habitat Education Sites. Parent and community volunteers also
help teachers secure resources and supplies for the project, manage
the project, recruit other parent helpers and help build community support
for the project. Parent and community partnerships are vital to the
success of meeting student needs. Successful 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member
Schools establish a Habitat Team that includes one or two trained teachers
working in partnership with trained volunteers.
is a Habitat Team?
A Habitat Team is a core
group of 4-6 people who will help guide the project and help to ensure
that the project moves forward. They are the dreamers, the planners
and the ones who help ensure ideas get turned to action. While students,
school staff, community partners, and parents may all help to create
and carry out the dream and vision for the Habitat Education Project,
it is the Habitat Team that provides overall guidance to the project
and lays the groundwork of how the project will be created, used and
is the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program funded?
Oregon State University Extension
4-H sponsors the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. In August 2001, the
4-H Wildlife Stewards Program was awarded a $748,000 grant from National
Science Foundation to develop this program into a national model and
document the educational and scientific impacts of this project on students,
teachers, and communities.
a teacher, how would this fit into what I am already required to teach
in the classroom? Will this just be adding more work to my teaching
The 4-H Wildlife Stewards
Program is designed to enhance what you are already doing in the classroom.
All 4-H Wildlife Stewards curriculum is tied to the Oregon Science Education
benchmarks. Trained 4-H Wildlife Stewards Volunteers can assist teachers
in delivering hands-on lessons and activities that reinforce what you
are already teaching in the classroom. The program is designed to be
flexible to meet your individual classroom needs. The amount of time
you spend on the project is up to you. Some teachers spend 2-3 hours
a week and some 2-3 hours a month. Research has demonstrated that children
learn best when they experience it hands-on. A Habitat Education Site
is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the lessons you are already
teaching your students and the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program provides
the staff, resources and curriculum to make that happen.
did the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program get started?
The Oregon State University
Extension 4-H staff began the program in 1997 as a result of growing
public concern over the deterioration of our environment and the resulting
loss of wildlife habitat. Yet, while scientists, environmentalists,
the agriculture and forestry industry, and lawmakers continually debate
the many issues around the management of our environment, a growing
group of enthusiastic and passionate volunteers have become actively
involved in the caring for our environment and educating our youth through
the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. It is recognized that to increase
the involvement of the American public in our natural environment, youth
must become aware of the issues and be actively involved in some of
the immediate solutions. Youth must also become involved in natural
resource issues because the solutions to these problems are long-term
and involve changing the ways that we think and live.
is a habitat education site?
A Habitat Education Site
is an area on or near school grounds that provides hands-on science
learning opportunities for students and teachers alike. The site may
also be sued to enhance an interdisciplinary approach to educating our
youth. The size and the scale of the project doesn’t matter, it
is the experience of creating a habitat that will provide education
and a space for wildlife.
is a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
A 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member
School is a public or private school that has appliced and been accepted
to the program. 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member Schools work in partnership
with 4-H Wildlife Stewards, the local community, and OSU Extension to
create sustainable Habitat Education Sites and a place for students
to observe, study, and take action to manage our natural resources.
can my school become a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
To become a 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Member Schools a school must:
- Complete and submit a
4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School Application
- 4-H Wildlife Stewards
must commit to develop an outdoor science and wildlife area that is
sustainable over the long-term. This commitment includes:
- obtaining school district
and principal approval
- organizing a “Habitat
Team” of students, teachers, administrators, maintenance staff,
parents and community members
- identifying enthusiastic
teachers to participate in the project
- providing a meaningful
volunteer experience for the 4-H Wildlife Stewards team
- certifying the habitat
project through the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Advancement Program; and
- enrolling students as
4-H Junior Wildlife Stewards
support does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program provide to Member Schools?
4-H Wildlife Stewards Member
- Access to education/curriculum
kits and supplies
- Bi-monthly newsletter
- Special enrichment programs
for students and teachers
- One on-site 4-H Wild curriculum
training for 8 or more teachers and/or parent volunteers
- 50 hours of volunteer
service from each trained 4-H Wildlife Steward
- Opportunities to apply
for 4-H mini-grants
- Public relations and media
support for promoting your project to your school, parents, and community
- Certification of your
habitat with OSU Extension
- School wildlife habitat
- Access to the summer 4-H
Junior Wildlife Stewards camp for students
are the benefits of becoming a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
Participating Schools have
found that some of the benefits include:
- a place to learn about
the environment as interconnected series of relationships
- an opportunity for hands-on
learning in all areas of the curriculum
- an overall increase in
the diversity of play opportunities
- a reduction in school
ground violence among students
- an ecologically and aesthetically
improved and chemical-free landscape; and
- a model for environmental
rehabilitation and community building.
By involving parents and
community volunteers in these school projects local communities also
benefit. The benefits of community naturalization - citizens working
together to create healthier natural areas by planting native trees,
shrubs and wildflowers on public landscapes - include:
- enhancing environmental
health by rehabilitating degraded landscapes
- providing habitat for
native birds, butterflies and other insects
- increasing biodiversity
by using native plant species
- learning first-hand about
the natural world and ecological processes which support it
- strengthening community
ties by fostering a sense of cooperation and instilling feelings of
pride and stewardship; and
- building a sense of individual
empowerment - people learn that they can make a difference.
am a teacher and our school already has a habitat education site that
we developed and are currently using. What advantage would there be
for me or my school to get involved with the 4-H Wildlife Stewards program?
4-H Extension offers a diverse
collection of informative and inspirational educational resources and
curriculum to begin making positive and exciting changes on outdoor
science learning sites! Many schools with already established Habitat
Education Sites are realizing the benefits for getting involved with
the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. Our 24-hour training course provides
the latest research-based information on wildlife, native plants, and
science learning. We also provide information, resources, and curriculum
that will help you and your students get the most out of learning opportunities
using the Habitat Education Site. All 4-H Wildlife Stewards curriculum
is tied to the Oregon Science Education benchmarks. Our 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Volunteers and teachers will also have access to the resources
and faculty specialists of Oregon State University. All 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Member Schools are also eligible for on-site 4-H Wildlife Stewards
curriculum training at the school for 8 or more teachers and/or parent
Most important, 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Volunteers and teachers are part of a large network of people
who have a passion and commitment for enhancing science education opportunities
for students and the community. This cadre of individuals share a wealth
of information and knowledge with each other. What we learn from each
other as we each move through this process is invaluable.
does it cost to create a habitat education site?
Creating a Habitat Education
Site on school grounds can be as big or as small as you want. We encourage
schools and 4-H Wildlife Stewards to think big, but start small. On
average, developing a Habitat Education Site will cost about $3000-$5000.
This will pay for plants, soil amendments, gardening equipment, etc.
However, don’t be afraid to ask your local nursery and hardware
stores for support. Most 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member schools have found
that local businesses are very willing and anxious to support their
local schools with donations. There are also several foundations that
are interested in supporting school Habitat Education Sites.
the entire school have to be involved in order to become a 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Member School?
No. Just one or two classroom
teachers who are interested in the program can apply to have their school
become a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School. However, we encourage
schools to get several teachers on board and active in the program.
A single and enthusiastic teacher may develop an excellent program and
have students actively engaged in hands-on science learning but if that
teacher leaves – the program may die. The more people you can
get involved in the program the greater likelihood you will experience
does it cost to join the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program?
There is a $89.00 training
fee for teachers and volunteers to take the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Basic
Training Course. Overnight accommodations are available for an additional fee. For Advanced 4-H Wildlife Stewards Trainings there
is a nominal fee for materials and supplies. There is no charge for
schools to enroll in the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program.
grade levels does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program serve?
The 4-H Wildlife Stewards
is open to all students in grades K-12.
many people are served by the program today?
At the end of the 2001-02
school year, the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program had trained 224 volunteers.
The program served 54 schools, 170 teachers and 12,887 students.
you join the 4-H Wildlife Stewards program if you live outside of Oregon?
At this time the 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Program is only offered to residents and schools in Oregon.
We hope to expand this program in the near future to schools and volunteers
outside of Oregon.