Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wild About the Outdoors

Recently Steve and I took the kids to the Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC), a not-for-profit professional rehabilitation center located near Castlewood Park in Ballwin, Missouri. Noah and Natalie are both members of their Junior Wildlife Program (JWP).  Each month their group, made up of kids ages 6-12, meet to learn about native Missouri wildlife and participate in projects that support the WRC's mission to rehabilitate and care for orphaned or injured animals.  But, this month, their education coordinator, Casey Philips, decided to have them do something different.

In the past they have worked on educational projects like creating play animal habitats out of shoe boxes and materials from the outdoors.  Or, they've been involved in service projects like painting old shower liners in camouflage patterns to keep their skittish patients like turkey, from coming unglued every time a caregiver opens the door to their pen.
Natalie hard at work.
Noah making his mark on the camo curtain.

This time the assignment was simple: Get outside and play!  It seems in our age of electronics and gadgets that kids have forgotten or in some cases have never been shown how to enjoy the outdoors.

The free-form event began at 12:30 and ran til 4:30.  We arrived on the WRC grounds after lunch and the kids were more than ready to dive into the many stations Casey had set up for them.  One area consisted of a large pile of smooth stones for a stripped down version of Jacks..um, Rocks.  I was surprised how quickly Noah jumped in to give it a try.  Other activities included creating nature collages and using bits of vines and sticks to make mini-rafts that we set sail down the slow-moving creek nearby. Steve, of course, was in his element and Natalie soon became his shadow. While Noah and I took a cheeseball snack break, Steve and Natalie disappeared down to the other end of the property.  When they returned, Natalie rushed up to me carrying her "prized" find -- a portion of a deer jawbone.  You'd think she had won the lottery.

If you live in St. Louis and are interested in having your kids join JWP, click here.  Additionally, they offer wonderful, educational programs for school and scouting troops and birthday parties. Click here for more information.

Steve teaches the kids the finer points of skipping rocks.
Watch out!  Falling rocks!
Casey and Noah enjoy a game together.
"Maybe I can make a fire," he says.

1 comment:

  1. What a great experience for the kiddos! Looks like it was a really wonderful day. :)

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