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As Earth Week Begins, Rep. Kind Announces Kids' Educational Initiative at Genoa National Fish Hatchery

April 21, 2008
Press Release

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Pilot Project to Establish Outdoor Classroom at Genoa

Washington, D.C. –– As Earth Week kicks off across Wisconsin and America, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today announced that the Genoa National Fish Hatchery will receive more than $95,000 to enhance their visitor facilities at the Genoa, Wisconsin site with a new, outdoor educational classroom. The funds come to Wisconsin as part of the National Fish Hatchery System Volunteer Act of 2006, which U.S. Rep. Kind was instrumental in moving to the President’s desk.

“The improvements to the visitor’s center will help more kids and families explore this fascinating site,” said Rep. Kind, co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and founder of the National Wildlife Refuge Caucus. “In Congress I’ve advocated for promoting visitor services at our National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries not only because its good for the local economies, but also because it is incredibly important to help kids connect early with nature so we can foster the next generation of conservationists. We live in a technology-driven world, and my hope is that with these new funds, Genoa can use the new classroom to get kids outside and excited about nature and the need to protect it for future generations.”

The national U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) pilot project, one of two nationwide, provides $35,000 to Genoa to match the Region’s allocation of $60,000, and will demonstrate how to enhance outdoor classroom projects that connect kids with nature in their local communities. The Visitor Facility Enhancement (VFE) target small construction projects designed to improve and enhance visitor facilities within both the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System.

“The staff and I at Genoa are very excited to be able to work with local educators and other interested Service groups to develop this outdoor classroom and learning center. We hope that through this effort we will help develop the next generation of conservation stewards in our area, and in turn help pass along a conservation legacy that our children can respect and admire,” said Doug Aloisi, Project Leader at Genoa National Fish Hatchery.

Current plans for the VFE funds are to develop a boardwalk with interpretive education sites in a working wetland located at the site. The “outdoor classroom” will be used for tours and for school groups and others to learn about the importance of wetland hydrology and pollution control, as well as of wetlands as habitat and nursery areas to fish and wildlife. The area will also be made available to the public as a point of access to a wildlife area for unstructured exploration and play. A handicap accessible fishing dock is also planned to create recreational fishing opportunities for persons with disabilities.