Nestled in the beautiful Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson, Wyoming, the American Wilderness Leadership School (“AWLS”) provides the perfect atmosphere for educational programs. Established in 1976 with the vision of providing educators with a useful hands-on experience that they can bring home to their classrooms, AWLS has provided an accredited wildlife management program for 5,473 primary and secondary teachers. The school offers six dates each summer for these fun and exciting eight-day sessions. Some of the topics covered include wildlife conservation and management, endangered species and outdoor ethics, ecosystems, economic contribution of sportsman in conservation, outdoor survival and the shooting sports – firearm safety, shotgun, rifle, and archery. Participants also enjoy a whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River.
This year the Alabama Chapter of SCI has again provided this unique opportunity for two young ladies, Chloe Medlin and McKenna Franklin, both of whom are pursuing college degrees in the wildlife related fields. The chapter provided the tuition and airfare for these students to attend the AWLS. Below is their account of the experience.
Dear Mr. Bush and the Safari Club,
Thank you so much for making this life-changing experience possible for us. We are going to write this together because we started this trip only knowing each other’s name, and we ended this trip knowing we would be lifelong friends! It is amazing how we learned so much about so many things in just a week. We made some great friends from around the country and still talk and text with them every couple of days. We hope to be able to do something in the future to help keep the American Wilderness Leadership School going.
McKENNA: Before I left for this trip, I knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian and I had chosen Wildlife Pre-Vet as my major. This trip definitely transformed my path in life. Now that I am back at Auburn University, I have changed my major to Wildlife Ecology and Management. I want to keep learning more about wildlife conservation and how the whole world is affected by this. I truly admire the passion that these instructors had for what they were teaching us, and I hope that I will be able to do that one day. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this trip possible for me!
CHLOE: I have always been a hunter with my dad and grandfather, and it has been something that I love. This trip made me realize the value of hunting and how it is disappearing among this generation. I will always want to hunt and fish, and now I understand how important it is to teach others the importance of hunting in our ecosystem. My major at Auburn University will be Wildlife Enterprise Management where I will be able to be surrounded by the consumptive use of wildlife and the value of wildlife conservation in order to continue that. Thank you so much for sending me to Jackson Hole!
Thank you for everything!
McKenna Franklin Chloe Medlin