I love this picture of the boys at the bird watching station. They all grabbed a set of binoculars and were on their way exploring through t woods looking for birds and checking off their list of those that were found. Ruth from the Audubon Society had set up pictures of birds hidden in the area for the boys to find. They enjoyed this activity along with the games set up at the booth. They learned how to determine the food birds eat by looking at their mouths and identifying birds by their call. This information will help them remember the importance of birds to their habitat evaluation plans.
The next activity was the favorite for the day! The boys were given the opportunity to perfect their compass and GPS skills. This is a big part of our contests and we have often had hit or miss results even though we have been doingthis for years. This has been one of our frustrations when we go to contests. So, I was excited to actually have someone who knew how to explain the skill to the boys without second guessing their own skill (that would b e me!) It was good for me also because I think I finally get it! (always an added bonus to teach the teacher the skills)
The boys reviewed the technique and then were on their way to find a prize box set at a certain coordinate on the trails. This gave me an opportunity to ask some extra questions about the pacing portion of this technique. Then the boys were given an opportunity to use a GPS unit. I was amazed at how easy it was to use the GPS. After he taught us the basic skills, the boys were off on an adventure looking for a new prize. They were so funny to watch as they zig-zagged around the trails watching the arrow turn to get them back on track. It was like watching a Family Circle dotted trail. He said they were naturals! By the time they were done, they were all begging for their own GPS units. As nice as it would be to have the contest switch this technology, I realize that it would be more expensive. Furthermore, it is better to learn the basic skill before using the shortcut of the technology.
So after dragging the boys away to the next stations (they continued to drool over the GPS idea for the rest of the day), we enjoyed some games and refreshments. Then we came to the fishing booth. Even though the boys were just catching plastic fish, they were using real rod & reels so they were happy. The best part for me was the contacts I made with the Bass Club. I was even able to line up a speaker to talk to our project group about types of fish and gaming laws. That made my day since I know nothing about fish. This should make our group happy also because it is always better to have an expert (and enthusiast) over my dry and limited presentations.
The next booth was set up by a group we have volunteered with for several years. The Friends of the Forest is a nature group that shares ways to preserve the natural habitats in our state. It has actually grown into a national organization and I am proud to say we were part of the beginning of this group. Our involvement in the group was due to our desire to add more community service opportunities to our Wildlife 4H project. We have gone to many events to help promote wildlife in Texas. Check out what is happening in your area or maybe see some pictures of us at events: http://friendsnfgt.org/friendsnfgt/Latino_Legacy.html.
I realize this blog post is getting a little long but we learned so much! So here are a few more pictures to show how we completed our fun day. I will try to let you know when there are future events, so you can join us in the fun!
|Henry and Brendan with Casper the Friendly (Rat) Snake|
|Henry caught a bumble bee|
|The crew in a canoe|
|Solar Funnel Cooking (google it!)|
|Edward trying out the archery booth|
|Brendan saving a fish from the trash!|