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2009-08-20 digital edition

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2009-08-20 / School

Local Student Studies with the Texas Brigades

Mackenzie Brown is seen learning to "age" fish at a recent Bass Brigade Camp. Mackenzie Brown is seen learning to "age" fish at a recent Bass Brigade Camp. Lexington High School freshman, Mackenzie Brown, recently attended the 4th Battalion of the Bass Brigade Camp held at Fort Parker State Park in Mexia, Texas. The Bass Brigade camp is part of the Texas Brigades, a wildlife program for high school youth.

The Bass Brigade is a unique educational program designed to educate high school age youth about aquatic ecosystems and natural resource management.

Mackenzie learned about different species of fish, fish anatomy, ways to sample (identify and measure, etc.) fish, managing ponds and much more in the five days she was there. One of the days Mackenzie's "school" (team) went electrofishing.

Electrofishing is a type of sampling that involves temporarily stunning the fish with an electric current (and yes, it's legal for biologists). The fish come to the surface of the water and are picked up with a long net. The team identified, measured, and weighed the fish, then returned them to the water. Mackenzie said it was a very remarkable experience for her.

Mackenzie Brown is seen (center) with members of her "school" (team), which attended a wildlife camp earlier this summer. Mackenzie will be a Freshman at LHS this fall. Mackenzie Brown is seen (center) with members of her "school" (team), which attended a wildlife camp earlier this summer. Mackenzie will be a Freshman at LHS this fall. The motto for the Brigades is: "Tell me, I forget; Show me, I remember; Involve me, I understand."

The Texas Brigades is a wildlife-focused leadership development program for high school youth (ages 13-17). There are four different camps: Bobwhite Brigade, Buckskin Brigade, Feathered Forces and Bass Brigade.

Youth are introduced to habitat management, learn to hone communication skills, and develop a land ethic. Top wildlife professionals and resource managers serve as instructors and mentors. Each camp is 4 ½ days long.

The camps are held on private ranches and at environmental camps in different areas of the state. In addition to learning animal anatomy and behavior, botany, nutrition, habitat management, population dynamics, etc., participants learn valuable leadership skills.

They write news releases, practice public speaking, and find out how to handle radio and television interviews.

Through these activities, these youth develop valuable life skills that will help them no matter what their life goals are.

Anyone interested in biology, conservation or just appreciates the outdoors, should consider applying to one of these camps. You are guaranteed to love it.

If you would like more information about the Texas Brigades, go to www.texasbrigade.org or if you are interested in being a cadet, please contact Helen Holdsworth at 1-800-TEX-WILD.

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