, Muskogee, OK

October 18, 2013

Teachers instruct and learn outside the classroom

By John Kilgore
Phoenix Outdoors Columnist

— Once in a blue moon everything falls into place for a season of spectacular foliage and, folks, it’s upon us.

If you’re an avid sportsman, this vista of beautiful scenery is just icing on the cake.

Fort Gibson High School teachers Gregg Moydell and Tim Berres are making plans to get out this fall, enjoy hunting, and perhaps even harvest a whitetail deer.  With youth gun season opening today and running through Sunday, this is a perfect opportunity to introduce your children or grandchildren to the outdoors.

Moydell, who teaches science, hopes that the time and energy he puts into hunting with his wife Karen shows their daughters, Landri and Sullivan, age 9 and 8 respectively, how to respectfully harvest deer and to use all of the meat they obtain.

“I feel that the choice to hunt or not to hunt shouldn’t be forced on anyone, including my daughters,” said Moydell. “If it’s something they’re truly interested in, I feel it’s beneficial to the relationship I form with them.”

Berres, who teaches math,  likes spending time with his two young sons, Gabe and Ben, where he is actually engaged with them, unlike the time you spend just watching a movie.

“They’ll be making the hunting/fishing rules soon,” said Berres. He and his wife, Adrienne, believe that promoting the love of the outdoors helps ensure many years of freedom to explore and use God’s country

“It teaches the youth that we need to be stewards of the land,” Berres said. “After all, hunters were the first conservationists.”

Berres said that enjoying the outdoors teaches youth how to get away from life’s demands. And these teachers practice what they preach. Moydell and Berres plan on going on a fall black powder hunt together for the fourth year in a row.

“I spend the first weekend of black powder hunting with my wife and then the second weekend is kind of a mancation,” Moydell said. “They use the time away from school to recharge their batteries after a hectic beginning of the school year.”

Although they and their families enjoy camping together, when it’s just the men, the five-second rule of eating food that has fallen on the ground becomes the five-minute rule. Also, the rules about washing the dishes and utensils are a little more lax when the ladies aren’t in camp.

“Venison is the preferred red meat in our household,” said Moydell. “ We go the entire year on the venison we harvest. Financially, it’s a money saver and I feel that the venison is healthier for my family to eat since a deer does not contain hormones and other man-made drugs in its system.”

They usually set up deer camp at Greenleaf State Park and then hunt on Camp Gruber land. These avid outdoorsmen find that taking the time to relax in a hammock or sharpen a knife around a campfire is quite enjoyable whether you harvest a deer or not. As a matter of fact, the hunting’s not always the best.

“Last year we only saw one deer combined,” said Berres.

But again, its not about hunting. I know as a parent I appreciate the positive impact that these teachers have made on my son,  They were two of his favorite teachers in high school.

“Tim and I have reformatted the Math and Science club at the high school into what are called Enrichment Clusters,”  said Moydell. “Once a trimester, we come up with some real world application that gets the students to learn about math and science.

“This past September, we did a freshwater stream and fish survey at Fort Gibson Lake and we look forward to doing more clusters that gets the students to understand and appreciate the outdoor opportunities that Oklahoma has to offer.”.

The future seems to be in good hands. Not all lessons are learned in the classroom setting.

John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. Reach him with news or comments  at (918) 348-9431 or