Daily Point of Light # 2782 Oct 4, 2004

Will Schoenhals is a “Jr. Naturalist” volunteer at Three Forks Nature Center in Sequoyah State Park. He started working at the center in December 2002 at the age of 10. He has since worked over 330 hours through July 2004. Will is 11 years old and currently in the sixth grade.

Will has provided outreach nature programs to schools in the area and also to Boy Scouts day camps. Will is also one of our Jr. Naturalist instructor. As an instructor he helps with the training and orienting of the new volunteers that go through classes which includes both kids and adults. These classes are taught in the spring on 4 different Saturdays. In order to teach the class he has given up soccer games and Boy Scout campouts. He is our only Jr. Naturalist that has taught the entire set of classes.

This past year Will painted and relocated 20 signposts to re-open one of the trails as a self-guided trail. The trail had not been properly marked and used as a self-guided trail in over four years. He assists with the daily maintenance, rehabilitation, and care of the animals that we have at the center.

Will is able to provide information about the park and activities to the visitors at the center and also leads or assists with programs. He works closely with visiting scout groups helping with their advancement requirements. On the Saturdays that he is working, he leads the rock painting program and assists with the reptiles program.

Will has earned the Gold Presidential Community Service Award both in 2003 and again this year.

Due to reduction in funding, the staffing as the center has been reduced. It is because of volunteers like Will, that quality wildlife education programs continue to be provided to visitors that come to the park.