AUGUSTA – Do you know what you should do if you see a bear nearby when you’re picking blueberries? Or if you see a turtle on its back along the side of a road?

These are two of the 12 questions posed in the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s newest booklet, “What Would You Do? An Outdoors Skills Quiz,” now available for parents and teachers to show their children or pupils before summer vacation begins. It’s also a fun activity for adults!

The quiz was written by IF&W Natural Sciences Educator Lisa Kane, who for more than 20 years has taught outdoors and wildlife conservation classes at school events, children’s programs, the Maine Wildlife Park and Swan Island. It was illustrated by Tom Merriam, an outdoors artist whose work also graces the Sportsman’s License Plate, and was designed by Deborah Turcotte, the Department’s spokeswoman.

“This appealingly illustrated online quiz gives kids of all ages a chance to see how they’d react in the common outdoor situations depicted,” said Kane. “Hopefully by taking the quiz, kids will learn what the right things are to do in certain situations when boating, camping, snowmobiling or interacting with wildlife.”

The booklet is simple to read and easy to use – and is a great addition to any safety day programs currently being scheduled schools statewide in anticipation of summer vacation.

“A current state and national concern is how to get kids to recreate outside, and once they’re there to make sure they are acting safely and ethically,” Kane said. “Teachers might use the booklet as a stepping stone for kids to share some of their own outdoor adventures, either by writing a story or giving a talk. Teachers also might use the quiz prior to a field trip, to ensure kids know how to act appropriately and safely while visiting a state park, beach or other outdoor venue.”

To read and share the booklet from your home, school or work computer, visit http://www.flipseekllc.com/maine200904kidbits.html

A printer-friendly version also is available online for teachers. The booklet can be printed on standard copy paper, and then the sheets are cut in half, with one stack placed on top of the other. Just staple and it’s ready to be used by your students! It’s available at http://www.flipseekllc.com/maine200904kidbitsteacher.html

If you’d like to know more about the work being done at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the latest edition of its magazine, Maine Fish and Wildlife, now is online in an easy-to-use flip format. Inside this edition are videos on why Maine is a world-class fishing destination and how much of an economic impact outdoor activities have on Maine’s economy. You also can hear what a Great Blue Heron sounds like! It can be viewed at http://www.flipseekllc.com/maine2009spring.html.

Posted by Tom Remington