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4H Wildlife Stewards
 
Bringing Science and Nature Together...one school at a time.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

> Who are 4-H Wildlife Stewards?
> What are the qualifications necessary to become a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
> What are the requirements for becoming a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
> What kind of training and support will I receive through Oregon State University Extension 4-H as a 4-H Wildlife Steward?
> What are 4-H Wildlife Stewards trained to do?
> I am a teacher at a school. Can I become a 4-H Wildlife Steward Volunteer?
> What is a Habitat Team?
> How is the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program funded?
> As a teacher, how would this fit into what I am already required to teach in the classroom and will this just be adding more work to my teaching load?
> How did the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program get started?
> What is a habitat education site?
> What is a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
> How can my school become a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
> What support does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program provide to Member Schools?
> What are the benefits of becoming a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
> I 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?
> What does it cost to create a habitat education site?
> Does the entire school have to be involved in order to become a 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member School?
> What does it cost to join the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program?
> What grade levels does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program serve?
> How many people are served by the program today?
> Can you join the 4-H Wildlife Stewards program if you live outside of Oregon?

Who 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.

What 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 knowledge
  • A general interest and/or background in wildlife, ecology, and gardening for wildlife in a school setting
  • Flexible daytime hours
  • Good "people skills" and/or experience in a school setting as a parent, teacher, or volunteer.

What 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

What 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.

What are 4-H Wildlife Stewards trained to do?

4-H Wildlife Stewards are trained to:

  • 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

I 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.

What 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 sustained.

How 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.

As 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 load?

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.

How 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.

What 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.

What 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.

How 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:
  1. obtaining school district and principal approval
  2. organizing a “Habitat Team” of students, teachers, administrators, maintenance staff, parents and community members
  3. identifying enthusiastic teachers to participate in the project
  4. providing a meaningful volunteer experience for the 4-H Wildlife Stewards team
  5. certifying the habitat project through the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Advancement Program; and
  6. enrolling students as 4-H Junior Wildlife Stewards

What support does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program provide to Member Schools?

4-H Wildlife Stewards Member Schools receive:

  • 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 signage
  • Access to the summer 4-H Junior Wildlife Stewards camp for students

What 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.

I 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 volunteers.

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.

What 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.

Does 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 sustainable success.

What 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.

What grade levels does the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program serve?

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards is open to all students in grades K-12.

How 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.

Can 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.

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SITE MAP ~ PRIVACY POLICY ~ DISCLAIMER
4-H Wildlife Stewards, Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon 1209,
Portland, OR 97214 - 503-916-6074, e-mail: wildifestewards@oregonstate.edu
Copyright 2002-2009. All Rights Reserved.