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Queen Palmer Family Nature Night brings School and Community Together


Students at Queen Palmer Elementary School and their families came out Friday night ready to experience everything Family Nature Night had to offer, which included a variety of activities from Schools and Outdoor Learning Environments (SOLE) program and partner organization, pizza and lemonade for dinner, raffle prizes, and several local CPW staff and volunteers.

With sunny skies and more daylight to spare, some of the activities were placed outside. This gave people a chance to enjoy some fresh air as they visited the different tables and activities. The playground yard was the perfect setting for backyard bass where volunteers showed kids how to cast a fishing pole and catch the plastic fish that lay in front of them. Parents laughed and smile alongside the kids, some even jumped in to test their own fishing skills.

Trees and shrubs surrounding the playground held an exciting sight for those who visited the Catamount Institute and borrowed a pair of binoculars. Birds lay hidden in the branches. Were you able to spot and identify them all? The Catamount Institute also had fliers about their upcoming summer camps to take home and consider for when the school year ends.

High Trails was visited by several families throughout the night who were drawn to the impressive display of animal furs. Visitor could stroke the many types of fur to feel the differences and learn about that animals that the furs came from. There was even a beaver pelt on display!

As 6 pm rolled around, activities were closed down to let everyone gather in the cafeteria for the raffle. Kids dug through their own pockets or reached into their parents’ pockets to find their ticket and listened closely as the winning numbers were called one at a time to come pick one of the many great outdoor prizes that lay on the table. Preceded with a drum roll, Frank McGee, the local Area Wildlife Manager, drew the winning name for the grand prize, an annual state parks pass. Having everyone gathered gave a strong sense of community and it was a joy to see the students and their families building stronger connection to their school and the wider community.

After the raffle, people returned to checking out all the activities or stayed in the cafeteria to enjoy more pizza and lemonade. Archery was also located in the cafeteria and was a popular activity during the event. Those 8 years old and over took advantage of one on one coaching as they shot arrows at the targets. Some continued shooting until they achieved a bullseye.

The hallways also held an array of fun activities. The trivia wheel whirled again and again, determining what category a question would be asked from. Delighted hands searched for the perfect prize to reward anyone who answered a trivia question. Fountain Creek Nature Center also quizzed attendees knowledge of wildlife in Colorado and provided a large display of brochures, biofacts, and pictures from their nature center.

Chico Basin Ranch shed light on the role of ranching in land stewarship with sheds from wild and domestic animals. Chico basin is located near Colorado Springs and provides educational programs to schools and the wider community. A little further down the hallway rangers from Cheyenne Mountain State Park were ready for questions from by passers about the animal furs and skulls they had on display and were more than happy to share what opportunities one can find at Cheyenne Mountain.

Those who were willing to walk all the way down to the end of the hallway were greeted by two activities at the Generation Wild table, animal tracking and a jumping game to see which anima you can jump as far as. The two activities are both on the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) list of 100 things to do before you’re 12, although the list is geared toward encouraging younger kids to get outside, it is great fun no matter how old you are!

Attending a Family Nature Night was a great way to end the week! The SOLE team thanks all the teacher and staff from Queen Palmer, our partners, volunteers, area staff, and families that made this Family Nature Night a success!

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