32nd annual Nature Bowl
32nd annual Nature Bowl

CA Fish and Wildlife opens its 32nd annual Nature Bowl for third through sixth graders

Conservation literacy – low-flow toilets, desert landscaping, efforts to increase salmon runs, water recycling, habitat preservation – isn’t just for adults. The annual Nature Bowl, coordinated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), is now open for its 32nd activity-based competition for elementary school students from third through sixth grades.

In partnership with local organizations and agencies, Nature Bowl is designed to increase the science and conservation literacy of elementary school youth of children in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra foothills. Designed for group participation, the competition is open to school groups (both public and private school groups), homeschoolers, clubs, scout troops, or any other organized group. Schools can send only one team to each of the two divisions.

Nature Bowl is an annual, science-based educational program that increases ecological knowledge and conservation literacy. In team settings, students learn about the environment while building teamwork skills and sharpening their creative and critical thinking abilities. Teams are designed to be coached by teachers, parents, club leaders, student teachers or any other adult who wants to mentor a team.

Each team consists of a coach and three to nine children who participate in one of two divisions — 3rd/4th graders or 5th/6th graders. Teams register for a specific Semi-final site where they will compete with other teams. Two teams from each Semi-final site will advance to the finals. Although Nature Bowl is competitive in format, the competitive aspect of the program is de-emphasized so all students feel comfortable in participating and learning about conservation and in developing their group project.

To compete, each team needs three to nine children for one of the two divisions. The registration form, (included in this link: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl) indicate the information needed to register for Nature Bowl. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; it is to your advantage to register early in order to insure your preferred competition site.

Adult coaches are encouraged to attend either the one-and-a-quarter hour orientation or the extended half-day workshop. All coaches will receive an information packet that includes a detailed description of planned activities, an updated glossary correlated with the state’s science standards and sample questions and guidance on how to prepare teams for success. During the workshop, sample Nature Bowl activities will be enacted.

Nature Bowl is sponsored by: American River Conservancy, American River Natural History Association, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Waterfowl Association, Calaveras County Office of Education – CREEC; Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge; Lake Tahoe Community College; Placer Nature Center; Sutter County Resource Conservation District; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – New Melones Lake and Visitor Center; U.S. Forest Service -Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit; and, Yolo Basin Foundation. Funding for Nature Bowl is provided by: The Wildlife Society – Sacramento Shasta Chapter; American Fisheries Society – California/Nevada Chapter; Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration – USFWS; County of Sacramento, Dept. of Water Resources, Stormwater Quality Program.

Registration fees for each team is $25.00. Whereas the coaches’ orientation sessions are free, the one-time workshop fee is $10. For additional Nature Bowl information, included sites for the coaches’ orientations and workshop, go to: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl or contact Bruce Forman, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, at (916) 358-2353 or [email protected].

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