Temporary outdoor classrooms were everywhere outside the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area’s headquarters Saturday.
Brothers Ethan, left, and Ryan Ermovick get to know a Brittany at a station run by the Sagebrush Pointers 4-H Club during Ladd Marsh Youth Outdoor Day. Ethan and Ryan are from Arlington, Va. The Observer/DICK MASON
About a dozen outdoor education stations were in operation at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s third annual Ladd Marsh Youth Outdoor Day.
Visitors learned about everything from firearm safety and waterfowl identification to hunting dog training.A total of 83 people attended, 52 youths age 18 and under plus 31 adults. This was up from a year ago when 34 youths and 25 adults attended.
The attendance increase may have reflected the fact that the event was conducted almost a month later than in 2008, said the ODFW’s Mary Hoverson, one of the event’s directors. Conducting Youth Outdoor Day later in the year reduced the chances for conflicts with activities such as high school graduations and made it more likely the weather would be warm, which it was.
Hoverson anticipates that the 2010 Youth Outdoor Day will also be held in late June because of this year’s attendance increase.
In addition to attendance, sponsorships from agencies, organizations, businesses, volunteers and local citizens also was up.
A total of 33 volunteers and seven ODFW employees assisted in the event, operating or providing stations for introduction to shotguns, trap shooting, archery, wildlife management capture techniques, the training of hunting dogs, wildlife calling techniques, muzzleloader and mountain man activities, boating safety, air rifles, outdoor survival and fish printing. A wildlife poaching and illegal trafficking display was also provided.
The event’s sponsors, in addition to the ODFW, included the Baker County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, Eagle Cap Traditional Archers, the Oregon State Marine Board, Grande Ronde Model Watershed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Grande Ronde Muzzleloaders, the La Grande Rifle and Pistol Club, Sagebrush Pointers, Phil’s Outdoor and More, Calculations Bookkeeping, Boy Scouts of America La Grande Troop 514, the Baker County Youth Hunter Education Challenge Team, EMTs from the La Grande Fire Department, Safeway, Albertsons, Cabelas and Chad Carlson, a local expert in waterfowl ID and calling.