This summer, I was accepted to the Wildlife Leadership Academy’s Gobblers track in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I was chosen to attend based on the answers to multiple essay questions about my involvement and interest in wildlife, the outdoors, and conservation. I was also selected to receive a scholarship that covered 80% of my tuition for the week.
My dad was so interested he jokingly asked my mom how he could get to go, too. She emailed the director and they needed chaperones, so the two of us went together! Without good writing skills taught by Seton and the ability to take school breaks as needed, I would not have been able to take advantage of this learning opportunity.
The week at WLA Gobblers included studying turkeys and their habitat, as well as the development and conservation of their habitat to ensure healthy turkey populations in the future. We dissected turkeys, practiced turkey calling, shot skeet, and spent plenty of time in the woods identifying plants and learning how to create turkey friendly habitat in the area.
Following the week in Pennsylvania, I am working on educational outreach and opportunities to share what I learned. Outreach activities are assigned a point value by WLA and participants with the four highest point totals are invited to return as youth mentors.
As a scholarship recipient, I will also be writing letters to businesses and groups involved in wildlife here in Virginia to help give others the same opportunity I had attending Wildlife Leadership Academy.
This experience increased my understanding of the different careers involved in the fields of biology and wildlife management.
The attached photo was taken in Lewisburg, PA. I am in the foreground and other attendees are in the background.