- Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 16:33
By Elizabeth Grassi, Thomas Jefferson High School Senior
Over the summer, I attended one of the Wildlife Leadership Academy’s Field Schools, Gobbler’s Fields.
Over the course of five days, a group of about 25 students, including myself worked both in and out of the classroom to retain new knowledge regarding turkeys, their habitat, and the environment as a whole. We worked in teams of about 5-7 and competed against each other to win a trip to the Poconos in the following spring! We spent several hours in the day working in the classroom, listening to lectures from renowned scientists and biologists. They kept us intrigued with new knowledge and helped us retain the knowledge by quizzing us.
On the first day, they sat us down at our groups and gave us a quick rundown of the week and what the expected from us. Each team compiled a team name, and got to know each other through a series of games. Later, we received our first lesson, the anatomy of a turkey. We spent an hour learning about it and then proceeded to dissect our own turkey! It was very interesting and left us extremely excited for the rest of the week. A few other activities we completed were: shotgun and rifle shooting, plant identification and collection, hikes, tracking, and we learned how to use turkey calls.
Over the course of five short days, we gained the amount of knowledge learned from a semester in school. We had the opportunity to get credits from the field school that are transferable to several schools. Additionally the food provided was topnotch and made us feel as though we never left our houses. There was always enough for seconds and thirds, and everything was always delicious. One night we even had a gentleman come and prepare veal for us from a deer he shot himself!
Although we had to get up around 4:30 -5 a.m. and stayed up till about 10 p.m. we never grew bored or tired. Every night, we had one of our teachers share a story from what they did before they taught at the academy. They shared their experiences and helped us all to learn what we would need to do in order to succeed in the wildlife field.