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Fostering Youth Engagement and Comprehension in Entomology and Wildlife Education

Extension Education

James Davis
County Extension Director
UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County


Wildlife & Invasive Species Education™ for Kids (WISE Kids) has emerged as a beacon of educational innovation, dedicated to immersing young minds in the captivating realms of entomology and wildlife education. In a world increasingly challenged by biodiversity conservation and invasive species management, nurturing profound understanding and engagement among youth is paramount. The objective was to assess the efficacy of WISE Kids in achieving knowledge in the fields of wildlife and entomology. WISE Kids conducted a variety of outreach activities across different venues, including daycare schools and day camps. Through interactive sessions, participants delved into urban entomology, insect sampling techniques, disease-carrying arthropods, external anatomy, and native wildlife education. A group of 27 youth participants underwent thorough evaluation across three distinct events, incorporating engaging hands-on activities. The results highlight a remarkable achievement, with all participants demonstrating exceptional proficiency across three fundamental domains of entomology and wildlife education. Notably, participants showcased adeptness in identifying urban pests through practical methods, differentiating between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores using various mammalian and reptilian specimens, and recognizing the primary body parts of an insect while effectively distinguishing insects from arachnids and other arthropods. WISE kids were also introduced to invasive species such as the walking catfish (Clarias batrachus) and Cane Toad (Rhinella marina). In conclusion, this study confirms the resounding success of WISE Kids in elevating youth knowledge and understanding in entomology and wildlife education. By fulfilling its educational objectives, WISE Kids emerges as a transformative force, empowering young minds with invaluable insights into biodiversity conservation and invasive species management. Through its innovative approach and commitment to experiential learning, WISE Kids continues to shape the next generation of environmental stewards, fostering a deep appreciation for the intricate wonders of the natural world.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

A poster file has not been provided

Authors: James Davis
  1. Davis, J. County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County , Florida, 33513