Photos- I hope that everyone enjoyed this beautiful month of April. The 5th Annual Urban Forestry Festival/Let's G.O.-Atlanta where we introduced 324+ people to the Outdoor Activity Center in the heart of Southwest Atlanta.
So,as early as 8am the birds were awake, & as well as the Atlanta Audubon Society finding brown thrashers,owls,hawks,and a rare city friend of ours the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) also known as Woody the Woodpecker. Enjoy! the video.
REI & U.S. Forestry lead hikes throughout 26acres of Urban Forestry. U.S. Fish & Wildlife gave families a chance to hoop,skip, even hang upside-down like wild life playing a game of Animal Olympics. Keeeping It Wild encourage families to continue exploring nature beyond the urban forestries, and venture to our backyard State Parks and National Treasures.
Enlightment, Education and Fun were key concepts in giving families a crash course in PEAK training. Also aquiring, How To: Grow and Maintain urban gardens and most importantly gain knowledge on water conservation methods for their homes. For as we see the Outdoor Activity Center as a elementary gateway to our bigger reserves.
Last but not least, I enjoyed partnering with West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Evonne Blythers,Darryl Haddock and NaTaki Osbourne-Jelks in preparing this event.
To see the joy on families faces as you will see in the photos above PRICELESS.
James E. King II
Hey all from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery!
Lots of great Let's G.O. friendly events held at hatchery during the month of April, and as we continue to help better connect people of all ages with nature, we continue to cheer on Let's G.O. through our myriad of activities and programs as we not only raise over 1,000,000 million rainbow, brown and brook trout annually BUT also seek to help to empower and inspire as many visitors as we can to get outdoors and seek out their own connection with nature while also encouraging physical activity and overall well being as nature is so good for us all! :-)
And so, this in mind, a quick run down of how we celebrated the month follows...
Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery and the Russell County Soil Conservation District worked with Russell County Judge-Executive Gary Roberston to sign a proclamation declaring April to be National Environmental Education Month in Russell County. The proclamation, provided through the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), was signed into effect on Friday, April 1st, 2011.
Locally, the hatchery sponsored several Earth friendly events in celebration of the month, including its annual Earth Day Celebration! on Saturday, April 23rd, 2011. Providing a myriad of activities, ranging from booths giving out information on how to get better connected with the outdoors to guided hikes, wetland walks, hands on experience with baby animals of all sorts via a wildlife rehabilitation center and an introduction to photography class, the event was again a resounding success with 525 people in attendance. The Friends of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, Inc, an annual partner in the event, provided free tree seedlings as part of the celebration, and the event’s other co-sponsor and planning partner, the Russell County Soil Conservation District, also handed out free birdhouses and provided information.
Other nature related events for April included monthly 4-H Fishing Club and Nature Rocks! Family Nature Club gatherings along with planning for another busy field trip season too.
Directly, over 700 people have come out and been a part of the events described above and all total, visitation to the hatchery during the month, even with some rough storms and a lot of rain passing through, has been in the thousands. So life is indeed trout-tastic as we continue to celebrate Let's G.O. and the wonder of nature in general!
KUDOS to all on the work you're doing as it's amazing to see what good we're helping to make happen! And I gotta say that all the planning, hard work and more is so, so worth it with every nature hike we do, every wetland exploration we lead, every smile that lights up a kiddo's face in scooping up frog eggs or simply running through an open green space, emjoying the sun on his or her face... Totally awesome!
Amanda G. Patrick, Environmental Education/Outreach Specialist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery
Become a fan of Wolf Creek NFH on Facebook! - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wolf-Creek-National-Fish-Hatchery/666...
Trout-tastic tweets from the hatchery on Twitter - http://twitter.com/WolfCreekNFH
On Friday, Earth Day began with the showing of the film Mother Nature’s Child. The participants seemed deeply touched by the film and the meaningful connection to their own childhoods and values – particularly child-initiated experiences in nature and the sense of competence that comes from solitude in the natural world.
A parent reflected on the intellectual curiosity and work that brought her to the Bay Area but she deeply wishes for the contentment of immersion in nature as an everyday experience. Many felt a sense of anguish – their perceptions were that the experiences seen in the film are not easily accessible. A parent talked about roaming as a child in her native country and that her creativity comes directly from those experiences. After seeing the film she said, in reference to her family life, “I knew something has been missing.”
Participants gave examples of the obstacles they face in their everyday life in neighborhoods with activity driven and often fearful parents who view of nature as non-essential. The neighborhoods stand empty with cars driving children back and forth and, once home, the children stay inside. One parent voiced a worry ― if this generation is disconnected from nature, there won’t be anything passed to next generation.
It is difficult to convey the range of emotions that surfaced in the discussion after the film. It went beyond an ordinary conversation to a sense of awakening that I am grateful for ― I know there is action that will follow.
Our Earth Day Let's G.O.! in Homer Growing Family Nature Clubs workshop and Wild Zone Showcase brought a bunch of moms and kids together on a blustery Alaskan morning. Kids played on the outskirts of the room while their mothers learned why family nature clubs are the way to go for outdoor play (the #1 reason as voted on by participating parents: playing in groups pretty much eliminates the chance of having a bear encounter, thus breaking down that barrier to getting outside!), got tips on how to connect with other families, and found out where some of our area's best wild zones for nature play were located. After a break for lunch families toured 4 sites around town, each of which were hosted by a member of our local environmental educators' alliance. Two of the moms and their kids who spent time at a beach with me developed a bond with marsh mud. It was a good thing I'd worn my rubber boots, because I had to pull 3-year-old boys free of the boot-sucking muck more than once...they were major mud magnets and loved every moment of their adventures in the goo. At the end of their play in my wild zone, these boys' mothers had become friends and exchanged email addresses and phone numbers...and a family nature club was born!
This week's Let's G.O.! Spring Family CoastWalk was a magical event. We cleaned up a stretch of beach near the Anchor River in southcentral Alaska, as black skies to the east threatened to drench us and sun shining on the water to our west sparkled in the surf and highlighted the steaming Illiamna Volcano across Cook Inlet. Our youngest CoastWalker was a 3-year-old who found all sorts of tiny pieces of styrofoam and plastic that adult eyes would've missed. We documented every piece of trash found and removed over 110 pounds of marine debris. We didn't get wet, left the beach better than we'd found it, and discovered wave-worn driftwood and ocean oddities galore. What a fantastic way to wrap up our community's month of Let's G.O.! activities!
Lets G.O.! Aldama, was a huge success! On April 9th we have over 150 people join us in our efforts to beautify Aldama Elementary School in Highland Park,CA . Parent,teachers, volunteers, and children of all ages came together to Play, Serve and Celebrate.
With the support of Playworks staff, children and parents alike participated on an early morning team building workshop.
Followed by a collaborative effort of painting, planting and good old time outdoors. Children played, smiled and participated in giving there campus a much needed fresh look.
As the lunch time approached we were joined by the local Fire Department, which gave the little ones an inside look at a fire engine.
Thanks to the Wonder Mobile children and volunteers were also able to experience natural animal and insects artifacts and learn the importance of Leave No Trace.
Over all the event was a huge success, a true example of collaboration at its best.
Cant wait for the next one!
The Niobrara Nature Club Afterschool was started in the month of April for elementary students in the Valentine, Nebraska area. The club met each Monday for an hour and 15 minutes and covered a variety of kid-selected topics including wildlife, fishing, fossils, and nature walk bracelets. Each session began with a snack that matched the theme for the day (i.e. wildlife track crackers, chocolate chip cookie fossils). High school students served as mentors for the club members.
This was a pilot to see if we would like to sponsor and expanded afterschool nature program for the next school year. The kids are so enthusiastic and hungry for more outdoor experiences. And we have such a great resource in our backyard - the Niobrara National Scenic River! This is definitely something we will plan to continue.