The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) provided a glimpse of the Florida outdoors to more than 200 students attending the agency’s “Creating the Next Generation That Cares” event in downtown Tallahassee Thursday, April 7.
The courtyard between the old and new Florida capitols housed a variety of interactive displays to inspire youth to enjoy Florida’s natural resources and to learn to protect them.
“This event is part of our renewed commitment to help create the next generation that cares about conservation,” said Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC.
Increasingly, today’s children are disconnected from the outdoors. They devote nearly eight hours a day to entertainment media and media multitasking, according to studies, while the number of youth who spend time in traditional outdoor activities continues to decline dramatically.
“By providing information and interactive outdoor experiences to youth, Wiley said, “we hope to motivate them to care about protecting the legacy of magnificent natural resources that are unique to Florida and that help fuel the state’s economy.”
At the event, one display featured a touch tank of marine life; another offered kids a chance to pretend to be a bear for a little while and search for berries and bugs to eat. Participants also had a chance to learn how to cast a fishing line.
“Kids learned the names of bird and animal species that are native to Florida and created bird masks to mimic their favorites,” said Jessica Basham, one of the FWC coordinators.
The students got to see a baby alligator and other reptiles and amphibians up close, as an expert stood by to answer their questions.
There was a display of the law enforcement vehicles and vessels the FWC uses to patrol, protect and preserve Florida’s woods and waters, and one of the FWC’s K-9 teams demonstrated how it helps with different cases.
For more information on the FWC and its youth initiatives, visit MyFWC.com/Youth