Native American youth learn trapping in summer program

William H. Clay, Deputy Administrator, USDA Wildlife Services

©USDA Wildlife Services

In late June, Wildlife Services specialist Marty Federick presented an afternoon of trapping demonstrations to young people participating in the Choctaw Youth Conservation Corps (CYCC) at the invitation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The presentations at the Nanih Waiya cave and historic site south of Louisville, Miss., included information based on best management practices. In late July, Wildlife Services’ Mississippi State Director Kris Godwin and Federick, who conducts extensive beaver trapping for damage management, conducted a field trapping workshop for 24 youth as part of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society’s 26th annual National Summer Youth Practicum in Choctaw.

Specialist Federick drives a trap stake during a trapping demonstration.  ©USDA Wildlife Services

The CYCC, a comprehensive youth program, provides work-based opportunities in environmental conservation and natural resources management to Mississippi band youth.  The program also includes outdoor professional study through a four-week-long summer project that strengthens the protection, maintenance and appreciation of natural resources on Choctaw tribal lands, with an emphasis on the preserving culturally significant locations.

The youth assist with natural resources management work tasks, participate daily in hands-on activities to build tribal stewardship and appreciation for tribal natural resources.  Educational presentations on cultural and environmental issues are taught by tribal, state and federal researchers and professionals. The CYCC program, where work focuses in areas in the Gulf of Mexico watershed, was funded by the RESTORE Act, which was created as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the Gulf Coast.

Two dozen high school-aged youth from different tribes throughout the country participated in the late July National Summer Youth Practicum hosted this year by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw.  The practicum is designed to provide Native American students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of natural resources, fish and wildlife and parks management through field education, recreational outdoor activities, field trips, traditional methods of education and classroom instruction.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is the only federally-recognized tribe in Mississippi, with 10,000 members and over 35,000 acres of lands in 10 Mississippi counties.

Wildlife Services is a Strategic Partner of  TWS.