Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Amazing Kids! of the Month for January, 2005:
Amazing Junior Naturalist, Will Schoenhals; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
"Will has really made a difference at the [Three Forks Nature] Center. He is a very kind, caring and compassionate person. He has made a commitment that not very many kids his age has."
Volunteer Coordinator, Three Forks Nature Center
"Working at the Center has taught me a lot of interesting things. It also taught me how to be kind to the environment."
Will Schoenhals, 11 yrs old
Amazing Junior Naturalist
New Year to all! The New Year is a good time to take stock of
those things that we appreciate most about our lives. We at Amazing
Kids! want you to know that we appreciate all of you, our loyal readers
and supporters who frequent our Amazing Kids! of the Month stories on a
regular basis and who support us with your donations to
further the work of our mission: inspiring excellence in children
and helping them realize their own amazing potential. Thank you!
Another one of the things we appreciate most in our lives is the awesome beauty of Nature and wildlife. Our January Amazing Kids! of the Month is a young person who also loves and appreciate Nature and wildlife; so much so, that he volunteers several hours each week at a local Nature Center in his area. A highly dedicated young "Junior Naturalist," Will Schoenhals, age 11, really loves his work as a volunteer naturalist at the Three Forks Nature Center in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, for many reasons, including taking care of the animals--and catching snakes!
Read his inspiring story below and who knows? Maybe you'll discover the Junior Naturalist in you! As Will could tell you, Nature has so many interesting and wonderful animals and adventures just waiting for you!
And don't forget, if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing projects they are working on too! Simply complete a nomination form for an Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email us!
Amazing Will's Story
Will Schoenhals, with one of his animal friends,
at the Three Forks Nature Center
Amazing young Will Schoenhals, age 11, is a Jr. Naturalist volunteer at Three Forks Nature Center in Sequoyah State Park. A sixth grade student, he started working at the Center after school and on weekends in December 2002 at the age of 10. Since that time, he has worked over 330 hours at the Center!
Not only does Will volunteer at the Center, but he presents outreach nature programs to schools in the local area as well as to Boy Scouts day camps. Will is also one of the Center's Jr. Naturalist instructors. As an instructor he helps with the training and orienting of the new volunteers who go through classes, which means he actually trains both kids and adults! These classes are taught in the Spring on four different Saturdays. In order to teach the class he has given up soccer games and Boy Scout campouts. And what's more, Will is the Center's only Jr. Naturalist to have taught the entire set of classes they offer!
the instructor, training new volunteers!
feeding some fawns (young deer)
Amazing Will also enjoys providing information about the park and activities to the visitors at the Center and also leads or assists with its programs. He works closely with visiting Boy Scout groups, helping with their advancement requirements. Finally, on the Saturdays that he works, he leads the rock painting program and assists with the reptiles program, one of his favorite activities.
doing one of his favorite activities: herping! (catching snakes)
Will helping rehabilitate an injured owlKids like Will deserve to earn recognition for such incredible work and dedication. Not surprisingly, Will has, in fact, earned several awards and much recognition, including the Gold Presidential Community Service Award both in 2003 and 2004, and recognition as a Daily Point of Light, Number 2782, on October 4, 2004. In addition, he recently received the Jefferson Award in his local town, an award given to "ordinary people doing extraordinary things" by the American Institute for Public Service, which was founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sam Beard and Senator Robert Taft, Jr. Will appeared on his local television news, Fox 23, in Tulsa, when they interviewed him about his award. He is now a potential finalist for the national Jefferson Award.
Recently, due to budget constraints and a recent reduction in funding, the staffing at the Center has been reduced. According to Marty Benson, volunteer coordinator for the Three Forks Nature Center,
"It is because of volunteers like Will, that high quality wildlife educational programs continue to be provided to visitors that come to the park. "
Amazing Kids! is glad to know there are amazing young volunteers like Will who help keep such a vital community resource open and operating with their hard work and good will (no pun intended!). Keep up the great work, Will! You can be very proud.
In His Own Words: Will the Junior Naturalist
Will "wearing" one of
his lizard catches as
an "earring" --
"Hi! My name is Will Schoenhals from
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I work at the Nature Center in Sequoyah State
Park. I think this volunteering job is really fun and helpful. I would
highly recommend volunteering for anybody who's willing to help and has
the time to.
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