Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Share One Place - Oregon's Endangered Species

A few years back, I had a request from a teacher for materials about endangered species. I searched my cabinets for FWS materials and could only come up with outdated material from over 20 years ago. Even though there is a wealth of information on the internet, there is no comprehensive piece focused on the species in our own backyard. At the time, I remembered having seen a draft booklet developed by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, geared to students in grades 4 through 7. I called up Nancy, one of the developers and we agreed that we should finalize the draft book, started nine years earlier. We decided to try to find the original files, update the information, and get it into distribution.

During our initial consultations, I was visiting with Nancy in her office and she pulled out a prototype of the book. Apparently only a handful of copies were even printed before the project was shelved, literally. She held the only copy left so gently and with such guard, I was afraid to even touch it, much less hold it. I laugh when I think back on that moment.

Fast forward more than 10 months later and the book is finalized with an initial printing of 300 copies. We felt that to maximize the effectiveness of this new resource it was important to do a targeted distribution plan. The plan is to provide 10 classrooms with 30 booklets (1 per student) and to make ourselves available as consultants to the teachers. This would include assisting with the outdoor activity and having a biologist speak to the students (should the teacher request it).

So far the book has been distributed to six schools in the Portland area. As the word gets out, I'm sure it will gain popularity as the new school year begins in September. if you are an educator interested in this invaluable resource, please contact us.

Submitted by Donna Allard

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