Near the bear and cub crossing, Granby Elementary hosted its first Family Nature Night with SOLE. Students, siblings, and parents excitedly entered the school’s front doors. Families filled out a card, and each kid got a blue ticket for a chance to win splendid prizes in the night's raffle.
Once stickers and flyers were collected, students proceeded to the wildlife trivia wheel. They spun for a category, then a familiar fourth grade teacher challenged their brains with a trivia question. Whether or not the answer was correct, each try earned a fun, little reward (like a bouncy hedgehog or a bendy bat).
Next down the hall was the U.S. Forest Service’s booth, where two representatives displayed fascinating taxidermied animals (like the common raven and long-tailed weasel). A tough worksheet asked students to match each animal specimen to facts about it! Correct answers won Smokey Bear bookmarks and colorful Frisbees.
The YMCA of the Rockies—Snow Mountain Ranch had three representatives to share recreation possibilities. Their Web of Life showed how many different animals, plants, and nonliving things interact with each other in nature. The table also featured tracks, antlers, and beaver artifacts. The YMCA gave out reflective key-chain flashlights and neat stickers as freebies!
Immediately across the hall in the lunchroom, Altitude Pizza was constantly available. Cheese, pepperoni, lemonade, and water were a winning combination to keep families grinning. Some students, full of sugar, played an imaginary game with the colored squares on the lunchroom floor.
At 6:30 PM everyone, excitedly buzzing like a hive of bees, gathered in the cafeteria for a chance to win awesome raffle prizes. One by one kids celebrated their matching blue ticket numbers to the numbers announced. Claimed prizes included fishing poles and tackle, a kid-sized camp chair, a tent, and a binocular/bird book combo. The raffle finished with one ecstatic family winning an Annual Parks Pass!
Students scattered to return to their activities, and near the space and ocean mosaics, they gathered at the booth for Generation Wild. On the list of 100 things to do before you’re 12, families discussed tasks they could mark off as complete!
Next families spotted and identified birds! First, participants mastered binoculars by adjusting the focus to their eyes. On distant walls perched photos of colorful Colorado-native birds. Once the shape and color were recognized, novice birders worked with field guides to correctly identify the species, such as the Stellar’s jay and black-capped chickadee.
The final destination was the gymnasium, where activity abounded! Students were able to practice casting with Backyard Bass, and although some lines got hung up on ceiling beams or basketball hoops, many fishers reeled in colorful catches.
Visitors eight and older could try archery with the help of certified instructors from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. After determining eye dominance, students used bows to sink arrows into targets. Archery was extremely popular, as kids would exit the range and run to get in line again.
Thank you to the helpful Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff who volunteered to teach archery and casting. Thank you to our partners, YMCA and U.S. Forest Service, who brought interesting activities and prizes. Thank you, involved Granby Elementary staff, for hosting this Family Nature Night. And of course, thanks to all of our visiting families who showed up to enjoy!