Category Archives: Digital Mentoring

Working Remotely while Entertaining and Educating your Kids-with Conservation

Strange Times

As an American workforce reacts to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are finding ourselves in uncharted territory. Working from home, school and daycare closures and the uncertainty of life as we know it. In these strange times though, we do know a couple of things. First and foremost is that this will pass. Second, that our love for the outdoors will not die. Third, it is exponentially more difficult to get any work done at home with each repetition of Frozen II blaring in the background.

Here at Powderhook, we decided to put our heads together to give you some resources and tools to help you occupy your kids so that you can get some work done. More importantly, though, we wanted to help you take your kids’ education into your own hands during this time. We want to help you mold a conservation-minded generation and inspire your kids to get outside once this is all over. In addition to the hard work and dedication of their remote teachers, let’s take this rare opportunity to form a syllabus that can teach our kids the lessons of conservation, the importance of wildlife and maybe—just maybe—that their parents still have something to teach them.

Educational Resources

Arizona Game & Fish’s “Learning From Home”boasts an impressive suite of online educational tools for kids that can be done anytime and anywhere. Some can be printed out (or offered as a digital download), while others can be viewed directly online.

The “Focus Wild” issues feature pdf’s that can be printed out from the Department’s Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. These lessons cover everything from learning about becoming “Bear Aware”, understanding “Water Adaptations” and introducing your kids to “Aldo Leopold”. Simply print these articles out the night before or load them on a tablet and make sure you have the requisite materials (if any) for the associated activities. We recommend that your student (or student leader) be at a 3rd-grade reading level or higher for these activities.

Arizona Game & Fish also has a “Wild Kids” learning series which features educational worksheet activities organized by grade level. In these lessons, your students can learn about topics such as “Protecting Wildlife(4th-6th Grade)”, “Riparian Habitats(Kindergarten-3rd Grade)” & “Fire Ecology(7th Grade-12th Grade”.

Pennsylvania’s Game Commission has plenty to offer on its education page. One program in particular that stands out is its “Envirothon Program” which offers learning objectives, reference material and learning enhancements geared towards identifying different species of trees. We recommend this course for Junior and Senior high students.

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency hosts several “Fun Links” for kids that are both entertaining and educational. One of our favorites is the “Educational Coloring Book”. These coloring activities, which are easily printed out, allow your younger students to not only color but learn fun conservation-oriented facts. It has the added benefit of giving young children the early practice of animal species identification.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources gives you all the tools and some reading materials for your students to set up an in-depth curriculum through their “Learning to Hunt Activity Guide”. This guide will require a bit more preparation on your part as the educator, but it has an extremely fulfilling and knowledge-intensive course load. Some lessons require less preparation than others. We recommend these activities for students that can enjoy reading around topics such as “What Should I do?- Outdoors Ethics”, “Calling a Trophy Tom” and “Navigating Naturally”. Take a moment to browse through some of the lessons to see which ones will work for your schedule, environment and your student’s education level.

New Mexico’s Department of Game & Fish gives you “Discover New Mexico Wildlife Education” which offers a curriculum that is focused on New Mexico wildlife and wildlife management. Don’t worry though, kids from all states can benefit from the coursework. These lessons are intended for upper elementary and middle school grade students. However, if you have a wide age range of kids, a middle or high school-aged student could lead the younger students in the coursework.

Ducks Unlimited’s Greenwing Program offers a very interactive and fun suite of educational tools to help younger students learn all about waterfowl and wetland conservation. Activities include printable coloring exercises that help with species identification, early readers, an interactive feature story, animal jokes, and videos. They also have Educational Games such as “Duck Shooter”, “Jumper Frog”, “Match the Waterfowl” and “Find the Green Wing” which are sure to keep your students entertained (and educated!) for hours.

Pheasants Forever also has a website that’s full of pheasant facts for your students to impress the neighborhood kids with. That is, once we can begin reducing our social distancing practices.

QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) has an online classroom for those students that are serious about deer hunting and that are looking to take their knowledge of deer, habitat, and hunting to the next level. At the end of these courses, your little deer hunter will probably be able to teach you a thing or two in the deer woods this upcoming season.

Online Hunter Education Courses

Online Hunters Education Courses: You could also take this time to enroll your child in an online hunting education course. Even if you aren’t a hunter yourself, or if your child has already taken a hunter education course (or is planning on it) this is a great idea. It will allow your student to work his or her way through a self-paced, engaging and entertaining course that will occupy them for most of the day. You can also spread it out over several weeks depending on your student’s preference. The following states offer the International Hunter Education Association approved online courses for your student, which has reciprocity throughout the US. Please check your state’s requirements, which may include age restrictions and an in-person field day before the student can earn the certification. Nonetheless, an online hunter education course is a cheap and beneficial educational opportunity for your kids that can be accessed by clicking any of the logos below.

Arkansas GFC

Iowa DNR

Online Boating Safety Courses

Online Boating Education Courses can be another great opportunity to give your students the tools and education they need in water safety. These courses are similar to online hunter education courses in that they are engaging, entertaining and highly educational. The following links are just a couple of states that offer online boating safety courses. Please make sure you check with your state’s rules and regulations regarding reciprocity and additional course requirements for the certification of your young boater.

The Powderhook team wishes that you and your family stay safe during these transformative times. We hope that these resources can help you right now, but we know that they will help us in our long-term goal of creating a brighter future where every American can enjoy the outdoors. If COVID-19 is going to teach us anything, let it be an appreciation for one another, public access and our place in nature. Stay tuned for next week’s article where we will give you some back-yard activities to help keep your kids safe, interested and passionate about the outdoors!

McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

We talked a couple weeks ago that one of the main attributes of being a mentor is simply showing up, being available to someone who has questions and needs guidance.

The second great attribute is to give that guidance in any amount. Many of us get intimidated by the idea that in order to be a good teacher, we need to give all of ourselves. While some of us have a bottomless reservoir of outreach, most of us simply don’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm to answer every question that comes around or to be available around the clock. Continue reading McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

Andrew McKean Joins Powderhook, Will Lead Hunter-engagement Efforts

Former Outdoor Life editor-in-chief and longtime outdoor communicator Andrew McKean has joined Powderhook as its brand director.

McKean will primarily be responsible for content across Powderhook’s multiple digital platforms, its website, and its hunter-recruitment app, available at Google Play and the App Store. The app is designed to serve as a digital mentoring tool, connecting experienced hunters and their knowledge with beginning hunters looking for guidance. Continue reading Andrew McKean Joins Powderhook, Will Lead Hunter-engagement Efforts

An Open Letter to Hunters

Fellow Hunters,

It’s never been more clear that now is the time to act. The hunter numbers are in, and they’re not good.  Preliminary findings of U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation indicate a 5-year fall-off of over 2 million hunters. Since 1980, hunter numbers have fallen from nearly 18 million to the current count of 10.5 million. The preliminary findings are summarized well here. The future of conservation in this country relies heavily on our collective ability to reverse a devastating trend in hunter participation.

But what can we do about it? Continue reading An Open Letter to Hunters

10 Things You Can Do to Ensure the Future of Hunting

We live in an extremely fluid world where public perceptions and opinions on issues can change by the hour.

Just because hunting has been around for 90 percent of human history doesn’t mean that it will be around for the next 50 years. We cannot take our rights for granted. Preaching to the choir will not save hunting; we must influence others outside our circle to further our message.

ensure-hunting-for-future-generations

If we want to preserve the proud traditions of hunting for future generations, we must expose and mentor those generations to the most basic of human behaviors. Here are a few places to start.

1. Become a Hunting Mentor
Though I spent lots of time at the shooting range as a kid, I grew up without exposure to hunting because there was no one to take me out and teach me the ropes. Not every child has a parent who hunts or has the time to be a good mentor.

Whether you mentor your own children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or just a family friend or neighbor, you can do your part in passing along your knowledge and enthusiasm to another generation of hunters. Taking someone hunting just once could be life-changing for that individual—and you’ll never know whether they’re interested if you don’t ask.

preserve-hunting-rights-for-our-kids

My own kids are too young to take hunting at this time, but I still bring them along when I’m scouting for sign or checking trail cameras. They enjoy the time spent with Dad and are gaining an understanding of the connection between the outdoors and the food on their plates.

Can’t find a kid in your area to mentor? You can become a digital mentor through an app called “Powderhook.” The app allows new hunters to ask questions and gain insight through anonymous interactions with more-experienced mentors. In just a few minutes per week, you can help guide the next generation. Continue reading 10 Things You Can Do to Ensure the Future of Hunting

5 Things You Can Do to Grow Digital Mentoring

Digital Mentoring is in its infancy. If you’re reading this article you’re one of about 400 people nationwide who have jumped on board early in the process. There’s much to be done, but our work is just, and we’re already making a real difference. Here are 5 things you can do right now to grow the impact of Digital Mentoring. Continue reading 5 Things You Can Do to Grow Digital Mentoring