Conservation club is new formula for outdoors success

Published 10:07 am Friday, December 26, 2008

A Waconia High School science teacher has discovered a winning formula to interest more young people in hunting and fishing, as well as conservation practices.

When not explaining photosynthesis or Mendelian genetics to students, Wayne Trapp is the Waconia High School Conservation Club adviser.

Started in the spring of 2007, the conservation club has grown from 20 members to nearly 100 and is evenly split between boys and girls. Trapp’s formula combines outdoor activities with community service projects.

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“I think some of the success and appeal of the club lies in the variety of outdoors events that the kids can do,” Trapp said. “I also think that the kids like to give back to their community.”

From September to July 2009, the Waconia High School Conservation Club calendar is full of activities ranging from recycling to bird banding to ice fishing to tree planting to several trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Trapp said it would all be impossible without the help from a small group of dedicated parents, the enthusiasm of the kids, and businesses and organizations willing to assist with this experimental outdoors initiative.

The club recently visited Wings of Watertown, a hunting club near Watertown for a day of pheasant hunting. Other groups, including the local Pheasants Forever chapter and local sporting goods store Cabin feature contributed to the event, making it free to club members. Eight teens joined the hunt and bagged 15 birds.

But before heading afield, a member of Carver County Soil and Water talked about habitat restoration and its importance to wildlife. State Conservation Officer Steve Walter of Waconia also talked to the group about gun safety, hunting rules and ethics.

“CO Walter has been an amazing supporter and a great resource, not only for the club but also for the classes that I teach,” Trapp said.