☷Idaho Guard combines care for environment youth education
National Guard ( By Press Release office)
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BOISE , Idaho – More than 180 seventh graders experienced science through 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 April 28 - 29 . The Idaho National Guard partnered with Boise State University , the University of Idaho , the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission and Idaho’s Bureau of Land Management to bring science education to Heritage Middle School 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 . The program also increases understanding of the Idaho National Guard’s environmental stewardship and connects students and Idaho researchers with field trips throughout the year at the OCTC . Students researched and tested the soil and learned about biochemistry , fire dynamics and how to restore sagebrush . They 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 . Guided by Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers , Students used unmanned aerial vehicles and GPS technology to track and study raptors . “It’s important for students to understand species like the black - tailed jackrabbit and its 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 . It is one of the only places where military training , extensive research , public land use and livestock co - exist on the same land . Biologists from the Idaho Army National Guard EMO have helped manage military training and conducted research 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 . ”Idaho’s OCTC is a premier joint combined arms training site for Soldiers , Marines , Sailors and Airmen from around the country , with its 143 , 000 acres of terrain , world - class ranges and four - season climate . The Idaho Army National Guard EMO works closely with the BLM to support environmental stewardship and sustainable military training .
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