Joseph D. Barrett, Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 7/18/2007 11:41:11 PM
David Wilson, a North Louisiana alligator hunter, brought a 2-year-old wild Louisiana gator to a Nature Rangers workshop in Bossier City July 14.
The workshop, a cooperative venture between the LSU AgCenter and Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City, was one of several planned for 2007. The Nature Rangers events began in April and will continue through Oct. 13 on the held the second Saturday of each month.
The sessions focus on outdoor conservation, said Joe Barrett, an LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Bossier Parish. Volunteer ambassadors from the 4-H WILD (Working In Leadership Development) in Conservation Club, formerly called the Nature Club, assist children in completing hands-on projects during the hour-long workshops.
Children ages 5-10 are welcome. Youths can join 4-H at age 9, and this is a way of introducing them to the organization, said Barrett. "4-H is not just about cooking, sewing and cows," he stressed.
The July topic was alligators and featured Wilson, who talked about alligators and their habitats. The April session featured bird sounds, feathers and building pine-cone bird feeders. Participants at May’s event learned about animal tracks and furs, and June featured forestry and making leaf prints.
Earlier this year, LSU AgCenter representatives met with Bass Pro officials to discuss opportunities to work together, and Barrett mentioned that the junior leaders of the former Nature Club could do presentations.
"We hope to make a model for Bass Pro to use at other stores," Barrett said.
"We want to make this big," said Jarrod Bishop, public relations manager at Bass Pro. "It is a good idea for children to learn about alligators and other issues."
Each event features printed information and coloring sheets for each participant, and those who sign up receive a membership certificate and monthly reminders. At the July event, children also made bookmarks and shotgun shell necklaces.
The National Guard and a Humvee are tentatively set to visit the event in August.
WILD members meet monthly at the Cypress Nature Study Center in Bossier City to learn more about animals, conservation and recycling. They have built bird feeders for the center and have also practiced public speaking.
For more information on the variety of educational activities available through the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H program, contact your parish AgCenter Extension office or visit www.lsuagcenter.com.