Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (YWCE)
This year marked the fifth year of the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (YWCE) as a component of the WSF Sheep Show™ in Reno. Thanks to over 100 volunteers, including huge support from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, this year’s three-day event shattered prior records.
A total of 431 students from public elementary, middle and high schools and homeschools participated during two days of intensive, fun learning. The weekend began on Friday with a keynote presentation on wild sheep and conservation efforts. Next, participants attended nine different outdoor career seminars, with subjects ranging from outdoor filmmaking and wildlife biology to forensic science to catch poachers and firefighting.
The day concluded with around two hours of hands-on educational experiences. Stations included:
- target archery, trap archery, hover archery and suction-cup crossbows
- BB and pellet gun ranges
- hands-on skulls/hides/tracks
- hunter safety course by the the Nevada Department of Wildlife
- Laser Shots
- fly-tying and casting
- duck calling
- an “all about sheep” station by Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Society
- competitive shooting and an introduction to college shooting by the Nevada Rifle Team CSI Wildlife
Saturday saw 728 youth participants, exceeding our prior one-day record of 541! The day was open to the public with the hands-on educational stations running all day and volunteers assisting participants in making their own survival bracelets. Meanwhile, youths enjoyed the Tracks Program by picking up a Tracks card and following the sheep tracks throughout the exhibit hall. The trail led to learning stations on subjects ranging from sheep species to tips on efficiently stocking a backpack. Tracks cards entitled particpants to enter a raffle for prizes including Leica binoculars, Sitka gear and Kenetrek boots.
In all, the weekend broke the 1,000 youth participant mark, which has been a YWCE goal for two years!
A special thanks goes out to all those who donated their time through career seminars and hands-on stations, including: Nevada Department of Wildlife, Idaho Fish and Game, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Carson Creature Catchers, NineCaribou Productions, Truckee River Flyfishers, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Maison T Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports, Wasting Arrows, Nevada Rifle Team, UNRchers, Reno High Fly Fishing Club, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation, Red Wagon Network, Carson City Hot Shots, Comstock Claybreakers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the MANY other individuals who made this year’s event one of the best.