High School Students Go WILD!
A headline about high school students going wild normally would cause great concern, but in the southwest Missouri communities of Lamar and Mt. Vernon, it just means students in Linda Eggerman's and Jeanne Jones' classes are preparing and eating wild game.
"Wild Game 101," as it is often called, is a class that provides an opportunity for students to prepare and sample duck, turkey, rabbit, venison, fish and other wild game. The class came about from Linda Eggerman's desire to combine history, literature, and food preparation into one class. Linda teaches Family and Consumer Science at Lamar High School. She developed a short curriculum blending the study of historical literature, through required reading of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's novels, with actual classroom preparation of a variety of the wild game that had provided much of our American pioneers' food. Linda then recruited Conservation Agent Don Shilling and me to help demonstrate preparing and cooking wild game.
Mt. Vernon High School Family and Consumer Science teacher Jeanne Jones became interested in having "Wild Game 101" for her students after attending Don Ruzicka's Students Fishing Day. Don and the Mt. Vernon School District team up each year to provide all of Mt. Vernon's sixth-grade students an opportunity to fish and learn how to clean fish. Not only do the students get to catch fish, but after fishing, they are rewarded with an old fashioned fish fry.
After reviewing "Wild Game 101," Mrs. Jones thought her high school students would enjoy the program, so she scheduled three classes. Our menu at Mt. Vernon was rabbit, turkey, venison, trout, catfish, suckers and duck.
In the early years my wife, Ruth, assisted us, and in Mt. Vernon we recruited Mrs. Jones's husband, Steve, to assist. Since then, we have gone from teaching one or two classes at one school per year to five classes per year at two schools.
Don Shilling has retired, but Conservation Agents Scott Burger, John Thomas, Mike Terhune, Don Ruzicka, District Supervisor Mike Eutsler and Community Outreach Specialist Warren Rose have been recruited to assist with our class.
We begin each session of "Wild Game 101" with a short, informal survey to determine how many of the students hunt or fish. Also, we want to learn what wild game they've eaten over the years, and if they enjoyed the taste. Many of the students have eaten venison, and some have had