By Elvia Kelly, Fort Stewart Public AffairsApril 7, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Outdoor Wildlife Jamboree celebrates Month of the Military Child with a roar. Liberty County students explored the wonders of Fort Stewart's wildlife at Holbrook Pond, April 1. The jamboree is just one of many events in April recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of the sons and daughters of military parents.
"The Wildlife Jamboree is one of the kick off events for the Month of the Military Child," David Smith, Youth Education Support Services director said.
"One of the things about this event here is that it's a learning opportunity. It's an opportunity for children to get an idea of the habitat that live in and around Fort Stewart."
The students began their morning with a watery adventure. They took a boat ride with fishing biologists from the Department of Public Works' Wildlife Management. They learned the process of studying fish population and diseases by electrocuting fish.
Once the fish has been momentarily paralyzed, the students grabbed the fishes and placed them in containers filled with water. They observed the different species of fish, noticing features like color.
"My favorite part was when we caught the fish," Kiarvanaya Queen, sixth grader, said. "Some of them were silver, some of them were green, and some of them were silver and green. After shocking them, they were on their sides. They were not hurt because it only shocks them for a second. We threw them back in the water once we were done."
Following the boat trip, students took a short bus ride to learn about the endangered red cockaded woodpecker. Walking several feet into the woods, an observation point was set-up. Through the lens of a spotting scope, the children viewed the woodpecker's habitat.
"Our mission today is to tell the kids a little bit about the endangered species management," Larry Carlile, supervisory wildlife biologist at the Fort Stewart Fishing and Wildlife branch. "I don't think kids get enough information these days about the importance of conservation and wildlife management. It feels great [talking with children]."
While some students were enjoying the fishes and woodpeckers, others were nodding to the beat of music performed by Kirby, the recycling robot. Kirby is from DPW's recycling department, informing the community about the importance of recycling.
"I want the boys and girls to understand that recycling saves the environment," Kirby said. "It brings back money to the installation, and the community can reuse the items over and over again. After visiting this station, I want the children to take the information back home to their parents to teach them the importance of recycling."
Preceding each station, one which included a buck's skull, skin of the endangered eastern indigo snake and the five-lined skink, the students were treated to lunch from the grill and the military police k-9 presentation.
"[Today's jamboree] was a learning experience for me," Madelyn Bahm, sixth grader, said. "I know what we need to do for nature. I believe it was a very good way to [kick off Month of the Military Child.