Tomorrow’s Conservationists


Remember field trips? That great day at school when you got to learn outside the classroom? The SCI Foundation Education Department offered a unique educational experience at Convention for high school students from Clark County School District. Bonnie Warby, biology teacher at West Career Technical Academy, brought her students to Mandalay Bay to join us for a look at this exciting industry of conservation and wildlife.

The morning started with Martin Olson from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), speaking to the students about the wide variety of rewarding career opportunities in the department as well as the qualifications needed to get there. He spoke to them about conservation and environmental issues throughout Nevada and the West as well as how the department is funded using sportsmen’s dollars.

Dan Catlin, co-owner of The Wildlife Gallery brought his fun and unique perspective to the students. Catlin served his country in the US military, worked in law enforcement and had a passion for the outdoors with a hobby of taxidermy. He turned that into a thriving business and encouraged the students to always follow their passion and look for opportunities to become leaders in whatever they do.

Putting science and engineering to work, the students participated in a demonstration on how clothing/materials can be waterproof and breathable at the same time.

On the Convention floor, the students toured the Sensory Safari Exhibit.

One of the highlights of the day was a career scavenger hunt with students in small groups hunting for various items — pens, business cards and a few giveaways. They collected valuable information about career possibilities. The students talked to guides, business owners and vendors about their products and services. On the way, the students documented the experience with digital cameras, taking pictures as proof of the journey.

The day was complete with lunch, a wrap up of the scavenger hunt findings and a slide show of the pictures taken on the floor. Students received a convention bag containing information about SCI, Sables and AWLS, as well as a poster of the North American Model of conservation. This student group was polite, enthusiastic and eager to learn about the outdoor industry. They have a bright future ahead.–Laura Valley

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