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Jan. 06

Daily Point of Light, Clearwater Xtreme Teens Program,3894

The Clearwater Xtreme Teens impacted the community of Prince George's County through their dedicated efforts to support the environment. Last year, 104 Xtreme Teen Volunteers contributed more than 3,600 hours to meet the needs of the community. The Xtreme Teen Volunteers understood that the community needs to work together to help save our environment. They also realize the need for teens to be role models to their peers so citizens can begin getting involved with their community before they are adults. The Xtreme Teen Volunteers have gained an appreciation of wildlife and their natural habitats as they safely care for and handle reptiles, mammals, amphibians, owls, hawks and other resident animals of Clearwater Nature Center. They also monitor, maintain, and record information for natural trail systems in the Adopt-A-Trail Program. In addition, the group supports Naturalists in their efforts to provide environmental education to all ages during programs and events. Finally, Xtreme Teen Volunteers gain knowledge and appreciation of environmental sciences and wildlife conservation through participation in the Bluebird Monitoring Program, Weed Wariors Program, wetland restoration projects, and river clean-ups. The Xtreme Teen Volunteers faced a specific challenge during the 3rd annual Clearwater Nature Fair, which is an event that promotes environmental stewardship and awareness through innovative educational programs and activities. This event attracts more than 1,000 visitors annually, and during this particular year there were other special events occurring during the county on the same day. This pulled staffing resources to other locations and left the Xtreme Teen Volunteers with less than optimum staff to handle a crowd this size. The staff trained more than forty teen volunteers from the program in wetlands, plants, reptiles, invertebrates and much more. Many of the teen volunteers from Oxon Hill High School were guiding ponies, talking to the public about fossils and a wide assortment of environmental subjects. Other volunteers were able to assist by caring for animals and presenting live animal shows. On this day, the Xtreme Teen Volunteers - old and new - were instrumental in educating the public and giving hundreds of people positive experiences that resulted in making the 3rd annual Clearwater Nature Fair a success. Through the years, the Xtreme Teen Volunteers have grown and continued to develop their leadership skills through service. They have exceeded their own expectations and had fun doing it! The Xtreme Teen Volunteers have obtained valuable work ethics, environmental education and interpretation skills, and positive experiences working as a team. Overall, it is a challenge for Clearwater to find teens who want to clean animal cages, walk through muddy creeks with twenty first grade students, or dig up bugs for insect programs as volunteers. Whether they were cleaning riverbeds or monitoring bluebird populations, the dedicated service of the Clearwater Xtreme Teen Volunteers is appreciated by the residents of Prince George's County, Maryland.

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