Fish and Wildlife Conservation: What Can Your Kids Do?
By Ben Team
Parents who enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities typically want their children to share an appreciation for the great outdoors. In fact, it is our responsibility to instill a love of the natural world in your kids.
But this is often easier said than done, and many parents struggle to figure out the best ways to convey the importance of fish and wildlife populations, as well as the habitats in which they live. Fortunately, there are a number of easy and effective ways to help illustrate the importance of nature and convince your kids that it must be protected.
We’ll discuss three of the best ways to do so below. Just be sure to tweak these techniques to suit your child’s age and maturity level.
1. Maintain life lists
Life lists are made by cataloging all of the different plants or animals you encounter while exploring the great outdoors. Often, people narrow down their focus to a single category, such as birds, butterflies or wildflowers, but your kids can simply keep a list of all the interesting plants and animals they observe during their travels. Be sure to include information about the sighting (weather, time of year, time of day, etc.) and a photo if possible.
2. Make plaster casts of animal tracks
Tracks provide a great way to teach your kids about the natural world, as they are typically easier to find than the animals who left them behind. You may walk through the woods for hours without seeing any critters, but if you scan a few muddy areas, you’ll almost always see some tracks. Mix up a little plaster in a plastic cup, pour it into the track and let it dry for an hour or so. Then, you can dig up the cast and take it home with you. Be sure to write the date and location in which the cast was made on the back.
3. Have your child help prepare dinner
One of the very best ways to help your children understand the interconnectivity of all living things is by allowing them to help you prepare dinner. This is especially helpful when you are preparing fish or game that you’ve harvested yourself. Let the kids assist you as much as appropriate for their age and skill level and discuss the animal’s place in the food chain while cooking the meat. And, don’t forget to talk about the fruits, vegetables and grains included in the meal too.
Any of the three activities detailed above will help teach your kids about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation, but there is one other strategy you should try: Take your kids with you when you go hunting or fishing. This will give you the chance to share your passion with them and understand the value wildlife provides in an up-close-and-personal way.
If you’d like to learn more about the importance of wildlife conservation, the history of the movement and additional tips for instilling conservation-minded values in your kids, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the topic by visiting www.outdoorempire.com.
Ben Team is a lifelong environmental educator, former ISA-certified arborist and avid angler who writes about the natural world. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his beautiful wife and spoiled rotten Rottweiler. You can read more of Ben’s writing at FootstepsInTheForest.com.