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Idaho wildlife experts talk turkey to teachers

WILDLIFE — Wild turkeys have a lesson to teach, according to the Idaho Fish and Game Department, which has scheduled a teacher's workshop based on the birds this month.

Although turkeys roam wild areas and neighborhoods alike, many people know very little about the giant birds, said Phil Cooper, department wildlife educator.

What do they eat?  Where do they sleep to avoid predators? Do they nest in trees or on the ground?  Why do some gobble and others not? Are domestic turkeys and wild turkeys the same? 

And, why are some of them walking around these days with their brilliantly colored tail feathers all fanned out? 

A “Wild about Turkeys” Project Wild workshop is being offered in northern Idaho for teachers and youth leaders. Attendees will learn about the interesting and unusual habits of the wild turkey, a non-native species that was introduced into Idaho in the 1960’s. 

Grade school educators often talk about turkeys when Thanksgiving rolls around each November.  Teachers participating in this workshop will receive activity guides they can use with their students…and the materials are tied to Idaho’s state standards!  

Scheduled for April 25-26, the workshop includes a Friday evening (4-9 p.m.) at the Post Falls Cabela’s store, and most of the day on Saturday, which includes a field trip.  Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. 

Sign up for this or a future Project Wild workshop online at fishandgame.idaho.gov. Go to the “education” tab, then click on “Project Wild” specialized workshops.   Optional continuing education credits are available through multiple Idaho Universities for a fee.

Is it harder to be a school teacher today?

If I can stipulate that I have no intention of bashing teachers of the past, I would say the answer is “Yes.”

The spectrum of students' backgrounds and experiences is so broad now.

Kids have always been individuals, of course. But I have to guess that, in many places, there used to be more similarity in children's home lives. 

Teaching while giving

How do you talk to your kids about money, the holidays and tight times?

A lot of people struggle with the balance between indulging their kids and showing some restraint around the holidays. The added stress of a tough economy brings in another element. Karen Blumenthal, writing the Family Money column in the Wall Street Journal, says it’s a good idea for parents to get comfortable talking to their kids about money all the time — and that makes it easier to convey values when important decisions come up.

“(R)ather than spell out the nitty gritty of paychecks, mortgages and bills, which might overwhelm children, focus on defining and reinforcing your money values. In our house, for example, we had limits on toys and electronics, but not on books. Also, consider which values you would most like your children to have as adults. For instance, do you believe in paying for all your kids’ education or do you believe they should pay for all or part of it?