Students of Las Animas Elementary School and their families kicked off their spring break right with a Family Nature Night! As people entered the building, they were greeted at the welcome table and informed of the the options that lay beyond. After filling out the family raffle slip and kids receiving tickets for the individual raffle, families ventured onward to their first stop.
Many followed their noses to the cafeteria where stacks of cheese and pepperoni pizzas were waiting for hungry bellies and lemonade and water was prepared for thirsty mouths. On the way to the cafeteria, some families decided to stop at the first attraction, the Las Animas Fish Hatchery table. Drawn in by live catfish squirming in a tank and brightly colored posters, those that visited this table learned about warm water species that live in Colorado and the unique hatchery that is one of the few in the state that rear warm water species. The technician knew his crowd well and was happy to answer questions or swap fishing stories with anglers of any age!
Colorado State Forest Service caught people’s attention as they headed down the hallway with a quiz on items that come from trees. Adults and children alike were surprised to learn that every item on the quiz contained some material that came from a tree. Did you know even things like baseballs and chewing gum come from trees?
With longer hours of daylight and warmer weather, some activities were held outside. Wildlife Trivia was the first table beyond the doors and was a big hit! Kids spun the wheel and waited to see what category they would be asked a question from. Some spun again and again to really test their knowledge and see if they could learn something new about Colorado’s Wildlife. The National Park Service offered a look into history with information about nearby Bent’s Fort National Historic Site and stories about those who traveled the Sante Fe Trail.
The Generation Wild table was covered with molds of animal tracks, pictures and track identification guides. Those who ventured by stopped to see if they could figure out which track belonged to which animal, this activity is number 88 on the GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) list of 100 things to do before your 12. Nearby, people also had the chance to check off number 70 after seeing how far they could jump and compare their jumping distance to that of animals that live in the state.
In the middle of the event, activities were shut down for a short time to give everyone a chance to win a raffle prize. Individual raffle winners could take their choice from a pile of sweet outdoor gear and the family grand prize winner received an Annual Parks Pass! Everyone present careful checked his or her ticket to see if they had a winning number. Those who did not hold a winning ticket still gladly cheered on those who did. Gathering everyone together was a sweet moment of community as families, school staff, and partners chatted away.
Throughout the evening, the backyard bass station was bustling with kids casting and reeling, casting and reeling, casting and reeling as they tried to aim just right to catch a bass. Even though the fish they were catching were only plastic, everyone who was able to catch a fish or few did so with a smile from ear to ear. Even as the sun started to dip down in the sky, some kids just could not get enough.
Arrows launched from bows in the gym where archery took place. Some participants had previous experience with the sport and for some this was the first time holding a bow. No matter what their previous level of experience, each person had the chance to learn how to improve his or her skill. There were people lined up to hit the targets up until the very end of the event.
The SOLE program would like to send a big thank you to all of our partners, volunteers, Las Animas staff, and everyone who attended that made the night a success! We had tons of fun and hope each of you did as well!