For Immediate Release
Contact: Julie Klett
New Hampshire Audubon
603-224-9909, ext. 306
August 16, 2006 (Concord, New Hampshire)—A group of New Hampshire Audubon day campers visited the State House yesterday to experience the legislative process firsthand. The group, comprised of 10-12 year-olds, played the role of state legislators by conducting a hearing and a vote on a mock House Bill.
New Hampshire Audubon’s Education and Policy Departments teamed up to teach participants in the organization’s day camp what it’s like to be a State legislator and have to make important decisions regarding the fate of the Granite State’s environment. The children acted as legislators and debated a wildlife-related bill in the committee room where similar real bills are heard in Concord.
Participants heard expert testimony and then debated the mock bill that would allow the State to cut 100 acres of forest habitat to make way for an amusement/water park. The same parcel also harbors endangered bald eagles. The children had to decide whether they should protect the bald eagle, or make way for the amusement/water park that could generate millions for the local economy. The final vote was held in the House of Representatives Chambers where the bill was defeated.
Rep. Bob L’Heureux of Merrimack, chairman of the House Fish & Wildlife Committee sponsored the event with New Hampshire Audubon and coached the kids on how to conduct the hearing.
Joanie Smith , N.H. Audubon Program Director, said, “"After speaking with the campers it was obvious that this was not only an exciting opportunity for them but also very empowering. Campers left the state house with a new awareness of New Hampshire's legislative process. We just may have some future politicians in our midst.”
Joel Harrington, Vice President of Policy for N.H. Audubon, said, “the children experienced firsthand the difficulties and challenges that our elected officials face when making important decisions regarding our environment. I think the children walked away feeling that the protecting the Granite State’s environment is no easy task. ”
About New Hampshire Audubon
New Hampshire Audubon is an independent statewide membership organization whose mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It operates five nature centers throughout the state that provide educational programs for children and adults. It is also involved in statewide conservation research and wildlife monitoring projects, protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, and advocates for sound public policy on environmental issues. For information on New Hampshire Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, and publications, call 603-224-9909, or visit www.nhaudubon.org .