With unbridled excitement, families swarmed into Longfellow Elementary for their third annual Family Nature Night. Families headed onward from the Welcome Table to either eat pizza in the cafeteria, explore partner tables in the hallway, or give backyard bass and archery a try in the gym.
Partners and local Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) staff lined the hallway with great activities. Bryan and Sarah from Mt. Shavano Fish Hatchery brought aquatic life to the school with fish eggs and fingerlings to explore through the microscope. Nearby, a local District Wildlife Manager, Kim Woodruff, helped guests to paint their own sparkling fishing lures.
The Bureau of Land Management tested families’ skills at geology and mineral identification, showcasing a beautiful collection of rocks and minerals.
Guidestone discussed life cycles, particularly the journey of plants. Their table was lined with a variety of seeds that all require very different things to grow.
The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offered endless knowledge with their trivia wheel, while the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) facilitated plenty of giggles with their scat and track identification.
From within the gym, squeals and yells of delight and surprise could be heard from kids and adults catching fish at backyard bass. They even got some fishing tips from Jim Aragon, the local CPW Area Wildlife Manager, and Sean Shepherd, a local District Wildlife Manager.
Archery was a big hit too! Kids pulled back their loaded bows and watched their arrows fly to the target. Some hopped back in line again and again to see if they could improve their accuracy and hit the middle of the target for a bullseye. With a little help from local District Wildlife Manager, Kevin Madler, there were plenty of bullseyes to be had.
Nearby, families stopped by the Generation Wild table. They marked off things they have done on the 100 Things to do Before You’re Twelve list and took a paper copy of the list home to check off as they complete items in the future. Of course, they checked off many of these things at Family Nature Night! Kids saw who could jump the furthest (No. 70) by comparing their own jumps to animals’ jumps. They also identified animals by their tracks (No. 82) with some help from GARNA.
At the Trivia Wheel, both kids and adults spun the wheel and answered a question or two about Colorado’s wildlife to win a prize. True or False? A pronghorn’s eye is the same size as an elephant’s….
.... It’s true!
Once 6 o’clock neared, over one hundred students and family members gathered around in hopes of their number being called to come pick a raffle prize. Winners picked from a number of goodies such as fishing poles, a sleeping bag, binoculars, a tent, mystery bags, or camping chair. One very lucky family received the grand prize, an annual states park pass that will allow them to enter any of Colorado’s 41 state parks free of charge for one year!
After the excitement of the raffle drawing, some headed out while others stayed until the very end playing and exploring all that each area had to offer. With such an incredible turnout, the night flew by! The SOLE program thanks the families, partners, Longfellow staff, and CPW staff who joined in to make this exciting night one to remember. THANK YOU!