Students from Windham-Ashland-Jewett School Science Club visited Cornell Cooperative Agroforestry Resource Center on Friday, March 13 as part of a 6-session program on Wildlife Education. The program was funded by a grant from the Windham Foundation.
This month’s focus was on ‘The History of Wolves and Coyotes in New York State.’ Fran Martino from River Haggie Outdoors presented on this topic accompanied by her service dog. She is self-employed as an environmental educator, and serves as the education and outreach coordinator for the Greater Stockport Creek Watershed whose mission is to explore, understand, and protect the watershed ecosystem through community involvement and stewardship. Loki is a husky mix who served as a demonstration on interacting with animals and to provide a visual on how to distinguish the differences of various body parts on a canine.
Martino utilized an amazing collection of pelts, skulls, track marks and even a taxidermy coyote. She taught the students how to distinguish between a wolf and a coyote by teaching them different markings on their coats, different howls and barks and also just general behavior. To wrap up the session, the participants had the opportunity to issue commands to Loki as if he were a sled dog.
The previous sessions encompassed wildlife habitat exploration and food requirements. Next month we will be meeting on April 17th to apply what the club members have learned by establishing a wildlife food plot and habitat at the Siuslaw Model Forest. The participants will learn what it takes to care for and grow native wildlife habitat shrubs donated by the DEC’s School Seedling program such as highbush cranberry and gray dogwood. This opportunity for youth development wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the Windham Foundation, who are committed to inspiring and enhancing our community.