“It makes me feel hopeful.” Next generation studies North Dakota’s wetlands, grasslands

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - To celebrate the duck stamp contest being held in Bismarck for the first time, Ducks Unlimited, North Dakota Game and Fish and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are teaching kids about our wetlands and grasslands, and of course, the wildlife found in them.

At North Dakota Game and Fish Headquarters Thursday, kids picked up their colored pencils. They’re drawing, and learning about, ducks.

“I learned about wings and all the different kinds of colors they can be,” said 4th grader Ayzlee Carlson.

“Most people don’t realize that most of our ducks nest in grass. Which they think they might nest in water, and we do have some ducks that nest in water, but the grasslands are really important. They have to be dense, and they have to be thick so the hen can hide and then she can hide her nest from predators,” said Kristine Askerooth, visitor services manager for US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Past Junior Duck Stamp Contest winner Daniel Schumacher showed the kids how to draw the bill of a wood duck. He said art inspired him to learn a little more about North Dakota’s natural areas.

“I would go out and take reference photos, immerse myself in nature and learn more about ducks. Being out in nature you learn more about how important it is to conserve it and protect it,” said Schumacher.

Learning is the name of the game.

“I love it when they ask questions. Just when their curiosity is piqued over any little thing, like ‘how does a duck call work?’ or ‘how do I find wetland invertebrates in a wetland,” said Jennifer Kross, education biologist with Ducks Unlimited.

The kids, the instructors and the rest of North Dakota are all intertwined with the environment.

“I love talking about how wetlands help people and how they help with clean water, flood control and our groundwater recharge,” said Kross.

“We have tons of acres, and wildlife refuges, and waterfowl production areas here in North Dakota that are a result of that duck stamp. And hunters are just some of our most avid conservationists, they care a lot about these species,” said Cayla Bendel, R3 Coordinator for North Dakota Game and Fish.

Conservationists said they love teaching kids about the outdoors. “It makes me feel hopeful, like this is our future,” said Askerooth.

More than 38 million people enjoy the great outdoors by hunting or fishing in the U.S. every year.

The 50th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day is Saturday.