Extension Wildlife & Fisheries Specialists Conferences


Date of this Version

October 2006


Published in Proceedings, 11th Triennial National Wildlife & Fisheries Extension Specialists Conference, October 14-18, 2006, Big Sky, MT.


The dissemination of research-based information has been a hallmark of North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) land grant mission for more than 100 years. Through county Cooperative Extension Centers, NCSU maintains a strong relationship with the citizens of North Carolina. However, many students do not understand the importance of the mission of a land grant university, and most do not know that North Carolina State University has an extension program. Furthermore, students do not understand the extension mission, administrative structure, or approach to educate the public. There are many ways to bring extension into the undergraduate classroom and to encourage graduate students to build strong extension components into their research. As part of undergraduate teaching, we often share our extension experiences and questions and enlist undergraduate students to assist in answering extension-related questions. In an upper level Natural Resources Advocacy course, to introduce undergraduate students to extension and help them gain an appreciation for public education, students conduct a semester-long project focused on a real-world environmental issue. The students gather information from the scientific literature, survey stakeholders, and then reinforce correct perceptions and address incorrect perceptions through popular articles and public presentations. The NCSU Leopold Wildlife Club, primarily composed of undergraduate students, presents hands-on programs to elementary school groups, organizes educational booths at the local wildlife expo, and assists with maintenance of the native plant landscape demonstration surrounding the NCSU Fisheries and Wildlife Program main office. Additionally, graduate students are encouraged to participate in extension so that results of each research project are published and presented to a lay audience. As leaders in extension, we play a vital role in educating tomorrow’s natural resource professionals. We should maximize the time we have with students and teach the importance of public education.