Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

March 16, 2013

Texas schools forming clay target clubs

What do you get when you mix enthusiastic educators with a love for the outdoors and an organization committed to educating today’s youth on the truths about conservation? You get a program that is so popular that it has a waiting list at the majority of schools where it is offered. As our society becomes more urbanized, most of today’s youth do not have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the wild lands that so many of us experienced as children. Students today have become disconnected from the land, and the idea of conserving habitat is about as natural as trigonometry. In an effort to stem this loss, Dallas Ecological Foundation in conjunction with public school educators developed the Outdoor Adventures program. Based upon tried and true conservation principles, the program was designed to reach students from 12-18 and expose them to all facets of the outdoors. From fishing to Dutch oven cooking, the Outdoor Adventures program gives students the opportunity to reach beyond the typical classroom experience. The class is TEA approved and, judging from the size of the waiting lists that schools are reporting, one of the most popular offered. Why is it popular? According to an Outdoor Adventures Coordinator and former’ instructor Scot McClure, it is about getting students involved.

The course allows the educator the chance to impact a student’s life with a hands-on creative approach to education. The student’s involvement with the course encourages active participation and life-long educational skills.”

And this popularity is not only with the students. With the recent TEA changes to the graduation requirements, adding an additional year of math and science, educators are looking for something that can offer a break from these subjects and still be engaging for the students.

“With an increasingly rigorous graduation requirement for the high school students, the Outdoor Adventures course offers the student an outstanding opportunity for an engaging curriculum,” said McClure.

The Outdoor Adventures curriculum includes fishing, camping, orienteering, boater safety, hunter education, archery, CPR/First Aid survival skills, fly fishing and fly tying. All the teacher training is provided by Dallas Ecological Foundation and the teachers can choose any or all of the units to teach. The only requirement is Hunters’ Education. The students do not have to take the exam, but this unit is required to be taught.

“Our programs are not intended to turn youth into hunters or shooters but rather to introduce them to the field sports and then let them make a choice as to their interests,” stated Dallas Safari Club Executive Director Ben Carter.

And to assist the educators, a complete 18 week curriculum is available for the Outdoor Adventures course.

As an added bonus, the students that are enrolled in the class are given the chance to participate in the Shooting, Archery, Field, Excellency Trials for Youth (S.A.F.E.T.Y.) event. The students, along with one parent, are taken to Greystone Castle for a full day of hands-on field training. Here they are taught to shoot shotgun, pistol, rifle, muzzleloader, bow and arrow and crossbow. These skills, along with a comprehensive field exercise that promotes safety and hunting ethics, make for a full day of exhilarating learning.

And just how important are youth programs like this? A recent study by Cornell University showed that children who hunt, fish or play in the wild are more likely to develop a deeper understanding and respect for nature as they grow older. And the younger they are introduced to these activities, the better. As of 10-01-2012, there are more than 140 middle and high schools in Texas involved in the program, with more coming online in the near future.  There are schools outside of Texas also involved including:  Wyoming, Maine and Oklahoma.
Today’s young people have more outside influences vying for their time than ever before. Reaching out to these young people and educating them on what their role should be is the key to conserving our wild lands. From the National Archery in the Schools Program to NSSF shotgun teams, more emphasis is being put on presenting the opportunities to the students and allowing them to make an informed decision.

For more information on how your school can become involved in this program, contact Scot McClure at 972-392-3505 or scot@dallasecologicalfoundation.org

Participating Schools:

High Schools

Allen

Argyle
Arlington

Arlington Bowie

Arlington Lamar

Arlington Martin

Arlington Seguin

Baytown Sterling –

GCC ISD

Burleson Centennial
Cedar Hill
Chico

Cody – WYOMING
College Park –

Woodlands –

Conroe ISD

College Station
Colleyville Heritage
Coppell

Crowley North
East Central San Antonio
Electra
Elkhart
Flower Mound Marcus
Garland
Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie 9th
Grand Prairie South
Grand Prairie South 9th

Grand Prairie Dubinski Center
Grapevine
GCISD Bridges

Greenville

Happy Hill Farm
Hardin

Hebron – LISD
Irving

Irving Academy
Irving MacArthur
Irving Nimitz
Katy
Keller
Keller Central
Keller Fossil Ridge
Keller Timber Creek
Kountze
Lake Dallas
Lewisville
Lexington
Lovejoy
Mansfield Career/Tech.

Midway
McKinney

McKinney Boyd

McKinney North
Mercedes

Northwest – Byron Nelson

Northwest – Justin
Paris
Pasadena
Pasadena – Dobie

Pasadena – Memorial

Pasadena – Rayburn

Pasadena – South Houston
Pilot Point

Plano
Plano East

Plano West

Rio Grande City – Grulla

Rockwall
Rockwall Heath
Rusk
Somerset
Southlake Carroll
Stephenville
The Colony
Trinity HEB
U. of T. Charter Schools

Westbrook – MAINE

Middle Schools


Argyle
East Central San Antonio

East Central Legacy
Ennis Junior High
Irving ISD – Austin
Irving ISD – Bowie
Irving ISD – Crockett
Irving ISD – deZavala

Irving – LBJ

Irving ISD – Lamar

Joshua Loflin
Lanier – Houston ISD
Lewisville Arbor Creek
Lewisville Creek Valley
Lewisville Delay
Lewisville Downing
Lewisville Durham
Lewisville Griffin
Lewisville Hedrick
Lewisville Killian
Lewisville Huffines
Lewisville Lamar

Lewisville Lakeview
Lewisville McKamy
Lexington
Maypearl Junior High
Mercedes
Mineral Wells

Northwest Pike

Paris Junior High
Prince of Peace Carrollton
Roma Berrera
St. Mary’s in Sherman

Southlake Carroll
Utley – Rockwall

Weslaco – Central

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