Class Act Charter School pushing for ruffed grouse to be state small game birdSubmitted: 09/11/2019
Rose McBride
Rose McBride

Class Act Charter School pushing for ruffed grouse to be state small game bird
PARK FALLS - People know Park Falls as the unofficial Ruffed Grouse Capital of the World. 

The bird is important to both the forests and the economy of the Price County city.

A group of students at Class Act Charter School in the Chequamegon School District want to make the ruffed grouse the state small game bird. 

They've been busy writing letters to state legislators, hoping to get Senate Bill 21 passed this session. 

"[We're] working with Senator Janet Bewley and Representative Beth Meyers who coauthored a bill to name the ruffed grouse the small game bird for the state of Wisconsin," said Class Act co-teacher/advisor Paula Zwicke. 

But it isn't just their time in the classroom learning about the ruffed grouse that has gotten students interested in the project. 

They travel to the school forest where they get to see grouse up close. 

"It's just really cool to see a live animal right in front of your face. You get to hold it you get to touch it," said junior Hannah Stynes. 

Students have been working on a research project that began five years ago.

"Basically the question was, 'do we have any grouse at the school forest and if we don't, why not,'" said Zwicke. 

Since the project started, the students helped diversify the forest to make it better for wildlife, including grouse. 

Students on the grouse team like Shyanne Halter work to plot coordinates for the birds and track them through a collar. 

"I also help set up traps and help band the birds," said Halter. 

Seeing the birds in their natural environment has fueled their interest in getting the bill passed. 

Students got to go to the Capitol to testify in front of committee for why the grouse should be the state game bird. 

"That's what we're really proud about, is that we can make something so little go so far," said Halter. 

They're hoping to see their efforts rewarded by seeing the legislature turn their bill into a law. 

"I was very proud of us in that moment. Being able to know that we could achieve something so big, as go to the state capital and testify for something we're very passionate about," said Stynes. 

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