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Become outdoors smart this summer
May 2, 2016
Explore nature this summer with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy. In its third year, the Becoming Outdoors Smart in Summer (BOSS) program provides a new approach to teaching plant, animal and habitat identification, and survey skills to students entering fourth, fifth or sixth grades.
The BOSS program includes ten educational units teaching skills such as animal tracking, identification of trees, birds, amphibians and reptiles, how to analyze habitats for Monarch butterflies, fish (in streams) and the pollinators important to agriculture and wild plants. Each child will also learn about animal migrations, how invasive, exotic species can be controlled and even how to design a backyard landscape for wildlife. The emphasis is on time spent outdoors, but there is even a unit that families can work on while traveling in cars, called
The Big picture: Michigan Landscapes and Agriculture.
The Conservancy has developed a 75-page guidebook and a support system, via social media and the organization’s web site. Unlike traditional environmental education, BOSS does not involve kids following professional teachers and naturalists—rather, the children and adults work together without a rigid schedule or required travel to specific sites.
BOSS is brought to you with support from Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture and Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom, along with local and regional sponsors and partners. In some areas, BOSS is offered free, subject to local funding. The maximum cost of participation is $25 per child.
Parents must register their children by June 3
or phone (517) 641-7677. A BOSS Program summary and a sample education unit (on animal tracking) can be viewed
as well. Although the Program targets 4th-6th graders, younger or older children can also participate.
The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy is a 34 year old non-profit organization which works to restore and conserve fish, wildlife and habitat throughout the state and teaches others to do the same.
Quick Facts about the Boss Program
Age Groups Targeted:
Entering 4th, 5th, or 6th grades
$25 maximum. Free in some areas subject to availability of local sponsor funds
Approximately 40 hours spread over the entire summer, or less if some of the education units are not completed
Work To Turn In:
None, but work can be shared on a secured Facebook Page or on the Conservancy’s web site.
Most program activities can typically be completed within five (5) miles of home.
Dependent on the child’s effort. Points are earned and awards are provided at the end of summer.