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Abigale Schichner, 9, and Josh Curtis, 9, observe birds during Fox Island Day Camp on Thursday. Students trained to become Junior Indiana Master Naturalists.
Education notebook

Training to be junior naturalists

Fox Island camp fosters interest in natural resources

Allen County’s four school districts may have had spring break last week, but at Fox Island the learning never stopped.

As part of the park’s education program, 13 students, ages 9 to 13, spent the week training to become certified Junior Indiana Master Naturalists.

By the end of the week, those who had completed eight classes and six hours of community service earned their certification.

The program, meant to foster an understanding of Indiana’s plants, water, soils and wildlife and promote volunteer service, is sponsored by the Resource Conservation & Development Councils, Indiana Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

“I hope they leave with a connection – and almost a stewardship – for the environment and how it relates to humans,” said Fox Island Environmental Educator Natalie Haley.

Students spent Thursday morning learning about owls and hawks. Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehab, a non-profit birds-of-prey rescue organization, brought several injured birds to the park’s bird observation building, transporting them in large brown boxes.

The moment the volunteers opened the boxes and unveiled the birds, students let out a loud, collective “wow.” They let out another collective “wow” when Haley did a spot-on imitation of screech owl’s call.

Jacob Shearer, 9, said he joined the program because it sounded like fun and because he found nature “fascinating.”

“You can use nature to find cures for cancer and other diseases,” he said.

His favorite activity was the hiking, he said, because he got to see fungus and mushrooms.


•The Urban League will offer a scholarship assistance workshop for high school seniors from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Urban League, 2135 S. Hanna St. No. 3.

•Students can sign up for Lemonade Day, a business program for children, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Science Central. Online registration is also available at


•The Department of Nursing at IPFW will host an Interprofessional Education session in Health Profession Education at 5:30 p.m. April 19 in the Medical Education Center, Room 123. For more information about the session, call 481-6276 or


•The Northeast Indiana Career Enrichment Fair will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the International Ballroom of the Walb Student Union.

•The Second Annual CTE/STEM Expo will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in the Walb Student Union Ballroom.

•The Capitol Steps, Washington, D.C., political humorists, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Rhinehart Music Center. Free tickets are required.

University of Saint Francis

•Professional drummer and former Haitian child slave Bill Nathan will perform and tell his story of becoming a musician at noon Thursday in the amphitheater outside the Pope John Paul II Center.

•Nationally renowned historical impersonator Dr. John “Chuck” Chalberg will present “An Evening with G.K. Chesterton” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the North Campus Auditorium. RSVP to Angie Springer at 399-8066 or

•The fourth annual Formula for Life, a 5k run/walk and silent auction, will take off 1 p.m. Sunday at Hutzell Athletic Center.

Huntington University

•Luke Fetters will present “A Chinese Servant, a Civil War General and an Indiana Lady: A Case Study in Personal Agency, Unlikely Friendship and Missiological Partnership,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts.

Manchester College

•The college will hold a multi-media convocation celebrating Manchester College’s 2012 Innovator of the Year, author and non-violence expert Gene Sharp, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus.


Ana Boman will discuss “Frida Kahlo: Painting Her Reality” at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Wells Theater in Taylor Hall.

•The Overlooked Film Festival will screen “The Muppets” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Fabiani Theatre in the University Center.

Education Notebook appears Mondays. To have an item listed, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893; or e-mail at least two weeks before the desired publication. Dean’s lists, honor society initiations, courses with fees and graduation and internship announcements are not accepted.