DVIDS – News – The Idaho National Guard’s Idaho Adopt a Scientist program combines environmental protection with youth education – Advice Eating

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

The Idaho National Guard has partnered with Boise State University, the University of Idaho, the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission and the Idaho Bureau of Land Management to provide science education to Treasure Valley students through their 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 advance the conservation and management of Idaho’s wildlife and their habitats,” said Zoe Duran, biologist with the Army National Guard of Idaho Office of Environmental Management.

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

Students explored and tested the soil at the OCTC. They learned about biochemistry, fire dynamics, and how to restore mugwort. Students looked at herbivores and the local vegetation they eat to stay healthy. Students studied prey such as black-tailed hares and the birds of prey that fly overhead to complete a full education. Professors and graduate students from BSU, professors from the University of Idaho and staff from the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission taught the classes.

The students then used technology to track, survey and study raptors using unmanned aerial vehicles and GPS tracking taught by Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers.

“It’s important for students to understand species like the black-tailed hare and its dynamics in the landscape,” Duran said. “They are really important prey species for golden eagles. BLM brought in a Swainson Falcon and a Prairie Falcon.”

Home to the largest and most diverse population of breeding birds of prey in North America, the NCA is one of the few places where military training, extensive research, public land use, and ranching share the same land. Idaho Army National Guard EMO biologists have helped manage military training and conduct research to protect the environment and limit land disturbances since 1987.

“Preserving and improving the environment is one of the most important things we do in the Idaho National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, Idaho Adjutant General and commander of the 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 to live in this beautiful environment, state and country. We don’t just take care of the environment so we can train for it, we actually train so we can protect this beautiful environment.”

As a premier joint combined arms training facility, the OCTC in Idaho is an invaluable resource for providing invaluable training to Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen from across the country. The OCTC allows units to conduct simultaneous live-fire and close-air support training in one central location with its 143,000-acre site, world-class facilities, and four-season climate. The Idaho Army National Guard EMO works closely with the BLM to support good environmental protection and sustainable military education.

Date of recording: 05.04.2022
Release Date: 05/05/2022 01:27
Story ID: 419990
Location: BOISE, ID, USA

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