MDC hosts Rich Hill students for outdoor skills event

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Kansas City
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Nevada, Mo. – Archery, fishing and identifying mammal pelts gave 4th, 5th and 6th graders from Rich Hill Elementary School a break from classes on May 9 for an outdoor adventure. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff hosted the outdoor skills event in partnership with the McGennis Youth Center, which is in rural Vernon County.

The 69 students rotated through different skill stations. MDC staff set up an archery target range. Students got instructions on how to shoot with a bow and arrow, then tried their aim. At another station, students got instruction on how to cast with a fishing rod and reel, and some basics on fishing. They then moved on to the main lake at McGennis Youth Center and tried fishing. Bluegill were the fish biting best. Students then got a chance to handle and identify mammal pelts such as coyote, fox, skunk, beaver and more.

Some of the youths have prior outdoor experience, but many do not, said Amanda Breckenridge, 6th grade teacher. The outing was arranged with MDC staff by Greg Brocka, a retired Rich Hill science teacher and a McGennis Youth Center board member.

“A lot of these kids don’t get a chance to get outdoors,” Brocka said. “They don’t get a chance to see furs, shoot a bow and go fishing.”

MDC hosts special outdoor skills and educational events statewide throughout the year. Also, MDC offers a Discover Nature Schools program that integrates nature into a curriculum with activities within the classroom and for field trips.

A conservation partnership provides good fishing for the main fishing lake at McGennis, which serves west central Missouri counties. The lake’s fishery is aided by MDC’s Community Assistance Program. MDC provides expertise on issues such as vegetation management. The lake’s fish population is surveyed regularly to guide management. Also, MDC stocks channel catfish in the lake every three years. Conservation agents enforce fishing regulations at the lake.

For more information about MDC’s outdoor education programs, call your local Conservation Department office or visit