Wildlife Leadership Academy

On Ag Happenings – Kylie and Mrs. Berndtson share WLA experiences

by Mckenzie Sweigart – November 1, 2018

This past summer Grand Canyon FFA member and Wellsboro High School student, Kylie Butler, attended the Pennsylvania Wildlife Leadership Academy. The Wildlife Leadership Academy is a year-long program that starts in the summer when students attend a 5-day field school that focuses on wildlife or fisheries biology and conservation. In addition, the field school teaches students leadership skills. After the field school, the students continue their community outreach through education, service, media engagement, creative arts and outdoor mentorship. The Wildlife Leadership Academy offers 6 different field schools for students to attend, ursids (bear), gobblers, brook trout, ruffed grouse, bass and white-tailed deer.

Kylie attended the Brookies field school that focused on brook trout in Pennsylvania. She spent the week in Clinton County at the Sieg Conference Center where the camp was held. Some of the activities that she did at the camp include a brook trout necropsy, fly-fishing, and brook trout trivia. Every day the camp would perform cadences and do leadership activities. At the end of the week, multiple awards were handed out at the camp. Kylie won the photography award for one of the pictures she took while at the camp. After completing the camp Kylie is now a Conservation Ambassador. She uses this title as a platform to inform others about what she learned while at the camp.

Kylie continues to be involved with the Wildlife Leadership Academy through her outreach projects. Kylie completes projects and documents them for additional recognition from the academy throughout the year. Some of the projects that Kylie has already completed include doing a presentation at a local Trout Unlimited meeting, setting up a display at the library and setting up a display at a local Pennsylvania Game Commission night. Outreach activities allow the students to share their knowledge from the field school but also to continue learning themselves.

Melanie Berndtson, Agriscience teacher and FFA Advisor at Wellsboro High School attended the Wildlife Leadership Academy a few summers ago as an adult mentor. She attended the ruffed grouse field school. Throughout the week she helped to guide her team of students through the activities they were completing at the camp. This activity allowed her to learn about the program and she is better able to recommend students to participate after having the mentor experience.

If you would like to learn more about the Wildlife Leadership Academy or nominate a student to attend in the summer of 2019, please visit their website here.

Idea/Concept: Mckenzie Sweigart
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Mckenzie Sweigart
Correspondent: Mckenzie Sweigart
WLA Photos provided by Kylie Butler

Produced by Vogt Media
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