Two classes of students, their families, officers and instructors recently celebrated the end of week-long training programs from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police’s Basic Youth Academies, with graduation ceremonies at DNREC’s Hunter Education Center in Little Creek and Cabela’s in Newark.

At the academy, students ages 12-15 acquired skills for boating, fishing and hunting, and were exposed to the various aspects of a Natural Resources Police officer’s daily routine. For patrol work, they completed field scenarios that included checking deer stands and duck blinds, using a decoy deer to nab poachers in the act and making contact with visitors to Delaware’s wildlife areas managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. They were also given instruction in the safe operation of vessels, and learned about on-the-water enforcement activities.

Students who completed the Kent County Basic Youth Academy were: Kayla Abbott, of Dover; Hayden Argoe, of Middletown; Kelly Barr, of Smyrna; Justin Boyer, of Magnolia; Dominic Garcia, of Smyrna; Giovanni George, of Smyrna; Damian Grabowski, of Marydel; Drew Hatfield, of Dover; Justin Jones, of Wyoming; Elisabeth Lamon, of Smyrna; Cody Layfield, of Georgetown; Macy Layfield, of Georgetown; Hunter Mitchell, of Milford; Aiden Morris, of Middletown; Brett Murray, of Hartly; Teague Olewiler, of Lewes; Gabriel Riddle, of Millsboro; Michael Smith, of Dover; Emily Smolka, of Smyrna; James Stangl, of Milford; Matthew Stangl, of Milford; Jared Towery, of Dover; Madison Tulloch, of Wyoming; and Samantha Winter, of Smyrna.

Students who completed the New Castle County Basic Youth Academy, held at DNREC’s Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center in New Castle, were: Andrew Bebbington, of Newark; Brandon Brnik-Foote, of Newark; Cole Carden, of New Castle; Alexander Ferris and Andrew Ferris, both of Elkton, Maryland; Jacob Greenwood, of Bear; Jacob Kroll, of Newark; Charles Malinowski, of Delaware City; Rhiannon Mosier, of Wilmington; Ramnath Nanthakumar, of Bear; Brooke Pase, of Clayton; Eamon Rush and Jonas Rush, both of Townsend; Sam Seaman and David Seaman, of Hockessin; Dylan Serio, of New Castle; Liam Stanko, of Newark; Xander Tomaseski, of Middletown; and Foster Wilkins, of Landenberg, Pennsylvania.

In addition to the students earning their certificates for completing boating and hunter education classes at graduation, Natural Resources Police instructors presented awards to five students in each class. For Kent County, Olewiler took home the academy’s leadership award; Morris was recipient of the sportsmanship award; Hunter Mitchell won the sharpshooting award; Michael Smith the archery award; and Barr was recognized for fishing skills.

For New Castle County, Pase took home the leadership award; Tomaseski was recipient of the sportsmanship award; Carden won the sharpshooting award; Seeman won the archery award; and Malinowski was recognized for fishing skills.

The Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police also thanked the sponsors that helped make this year’s youth academy possible: Cabela’s; Signature Stitches of Dover; Delaware Chapter of Ducks Unlimited; Quality Deer Management Association; PSC Contracting Inc.; Chick-fil-A of Dover; Pat’s Pizzeria in Dover; BJ’s Wholesale Club; and Domino’s Pizza of Dover. The last of three youth academy sessions this summer, an advanced class for graduates of last year’s basic academy, is scheduled Aug. 1-5 in New Castle County.

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