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    The Idaho National Guard’s Idaho Adopt a Scientist program combines environmental stewardship with youth education

    The Idaho National Guard’s Idaho Adopt a Scientist program combines environmental stewardship with youth education

    Photo By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur | More than 180 seventh grade students from Heritage Middle School experienced science...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur 

    Idaho Army National Guard

    More than 180 seventh grade students from Heritage Middle School experienced science through a hands-on field trip at the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area within the Idaho National Guard’s Orchard Combat Training Center April 28-29.

    The Idaho National Guard partnered with Boise State University, University of Idaho, the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission and Idaho’s Bureau of Land Management to bring science education to Treasure Valley students through its Adopt a Scientist program.

    “The focus of the Idaho Adopt a Scientist Program is to create an environment where middle and high school students can participate in local research to promote conservation and management of Idaho wildlife and their habitats,” said Zoe Duran, biologist with the Idaho Army National Guard Environmental Management Office.

    Additionally, the program brings a greater understanding of the Idaho National Guard’s environmental stewardship and increases connectivity between students and Idaho researchers with field trips throughout the year at the OCTC.

    Students researched and tested the soil at the OCTC. They learned about biochemistry, fire dynamics and how to restore sagebrush. Students looked at herbivores and the local vegetation they eat to remain healthy. Students studied prey such as black-tailed jackrabbits and the raptors flying above that eat them to complete a full circle education. BSU professors and graduate students, University of Idaho professors and the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission staff taught the lessons.

    Students then used technology to track, survey and study raptors with unmanned aerial vehicles and global positioning system tracking taught by Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers.

    “It’s important for students to understand species like the black-tailed jackrabbit and it’s dynamic across the landscape,” said Duran. “They are really important prey species for golden eagles. BLM brought a Swainson’s hawk and a prairie falcon.”

    The NCA is home to the largest and most diverse population of breeding raptors in North America and one of the only places where military training, extensive research, public land use and livestock share the same land. Biologists from the Idaho Army National Guard EMO have helped manage military training and conduct research used to protect the environment and limit land disturbance since 1987.

    “Preserving and enhancing the environment is one of the most important things we do in the Idaho National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, adjutant general of Idaho and commander, Idaho National Guard. “The reason we have a military is to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens and to enjoy the freedom of living in this beautiful environment, state and country. We aren’t just taking care of the environment so that we can train on it, we actually train so that we can protect this beautiful environment.”

    As a premier joint combined arms training site, Idaho’s OCTC is a priceless resource for invaluable training to Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen from around the country. The OCTC allows units to conduct live-fire and close air support training concurrently in one centralized location with its 143,000 acres of vast terrain, world-class ranges and four-season climate. The Idaho Army National Guard EMO works in close partnership with the BLM to support good environmental stewardship and sustainable military training.



    Date Taken: 05.04.2022
    Date Posted: 05.05.2022 01:27
    Story ID: 419990
    Location: BOISE, ID, US 

    Web Views: 57
    Downloads: 0