What a BEAUTIFUL day for Nature Tracks in the Park!
June 21st, at the Macksville City Park, forty-nine kids, seventeen teens & adults, four presenters and five helpers helped make our Nature Tracks in the Park, Outdoor Kansas Kids (O.K. Kids) event a success!
Thanks to a grant from the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, we were able to host this free event, encouraging kids to Get Outside and take the WildLifer Challenge. Participants rotated among four stations for twenty minutes each. Then we passed out WildLifer brochures (more are available @ the library) & let each child choose a polished rock to keep.The first station was the library station. Kids gathered in the Band-shell and ate animal crackers while hearing books such as: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (for the youngest group), A Rock Can Be, and Take a Hike, Teddy Roosevelt! We learned about the amazing things rocks can be (from fire-starters to food grinders), and how our 26th president cared for the environment and protected over 230 million acres of land, so that they would be available for future generations to enjoy… like US!
The second station was held in the shelter house. Nurse Doris Tompkins taught kids about first aid and being prepared- especially when heading outdoors. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say, and she urged her listeners to use sunscreen, bug spray (with Deet!), and even bicycle helmets to help ward off future injuries, aches and pains. Kids also learned about hiking dos and don’ts– such as: what to do if you get lost, and to how to treat a sprained ankle if you slip along the trail.
Our third station, all about ROCKS, was lead by Alan Hedrich, who some may remember if they have toured Strataca in Hutchinson recently. The kids loved seeing all of the rocks he brought and hearing the stories about how he found each one and how the rocks were made. He also shared some fun facts, such as: Did you know that there was once a volcano in Kansas? (near the town of Buffalo) And, he showed the kids some salt from the Strataca mine.
The fourth station was about tracks & scat. Pam Martin, from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, had handouts for the kids which showed them how to identify certain animal tracks & even how to preserve them with plaster of Paris if desired. They played a matching game with animal pictures & pictures of tracks, and they learned to look at ALL the tracks at the scene to try to detect what had happened (if a trail of mouse tracks ends suddenly, for example… a flying predator may be the culprit!) Kids also learned about scat at this station… another link to the wildlife around us as we head outdoors & explore the trails!
Thanks to the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, our amazing presenters, and volunteers: Carrie P., Eileen L., Emily L., Jacob S. and June M., for helping make this program a reality!
Like in the Teddy Roosevelt book, we hope this program encourages kids to “Take a Hike!” and enjoy the outdoors- for their health, happiness, curiosity, and for FUN!