STEM Launch experienced their very first Family Nature Night as this is the school’s first year in the SOLE program. The Welcome Table was set up just outside the main doors where Shalana greeted everyone with raffle tickets and a rundown of the event. The wind kept the rest of the activities indoors for the evening, but much excitement was still to be had! Backyard Bass and archery were placed in the gym, partners were spaced throughout the atrium and main hallway, and delicious cheesy pizza waited to be found in one of the classrooms. As families arrived they were faced with the tough choice of where to begin!
Wildlife trivia and animal track identification were popular first stops as they lingered just beyond the main door. Parents and kids worked together to see if they could figure out which animal track went with each picture at the Generation Wild table. After looking at tracks, they could jump to see which animals their leap was closest to. Both activities could then be checked off their list of “100 things to do before you’re 12” from Great Outdoors Colorado. At the trivia wheel, kids spun the wheel and were then asked a question from the selected category. Some questions were a breeze to answer and some were real head scratchers!
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal and US Forest Service also provided trivia. Rocky Mountain Arsenal had shuffle board style trivia and several biofacts to supplement interesting facts they shared about wildlife. The US forest Service also had a trivia wheel, but their other big draw was that 4th graders could receive a free National Park pass! It was a good night to be in 4th grade wouldn’t you say?
Coloring iron-on patches to put on free t-shirts provided by Barr Lake State Park was another great destination. Families gathered around the coloring table to create their own uniquely colored design and helped pull the paper off once the patch was ironed on. Throughout the night, kids proudly donned their new fashion. Denver Botanic Gardens also provided a take-home goody to those who stopped by their table. Kids were able to get their hands dirty and plant native grasses in a take home pot, what fun!
For those with food on the mind, Mountain Side Gear Rentals provided a s’more making station. The tasty treats were a delightful addition to the large showcase of gear available to rent from the company. The s’mores were also the perfect dessert after enjoying free pizza in a nearby classroom. Nothing like free pizza and a gooey, chocolately treat to fuel a night of fun!
The Butterfly Pavilion provided a number of fascinating invertebrates to look at and a matching game in which you had to match the juvenile to the adult. Sounds easy, but as many invertebrates go through metamorphosis adults and young often look incredibly different!
History Colorado provided stimulating games of history bingo. Many people posed with state symbols and the Colorado state flag as a back drop for some epic picture afterwards! Bird Conservancy brought a number of cool items to look at including different bird eggs, skulls to show various beak types, and even a large great horned owl mount to ogle!
The raffle was held a little after 6 pm and was highly anticipated by all kids who had been holding their tickets oh so carefully in hopes of their number being drawn. Activities temporarily closed down so that everyone could come together in the cafeteria to see what prizes were in store. The individual raffle prizes were drawn and given away first; all kinds of great outdoor gear awaited those whose ticket number was called to choose from. Four lucky families received passes to visit the History Colorado Museum and then for the grand prize, one family received a certificate for an annual state parks pass. Wow! Even though only some were fortunate to win a prize, everyone excitedly cheered for those who did win something.
Once done with the raffle, families scattered about the building again to keep exploring all the activities. Backyard Bass and archery, located in the gym, were favorites throughout the evening. Kids giggled and smiled as they mastered casting. Plastic bass were brought in over and over again until it was time to restock. How many did you catch? Archery, provide by A&H Adventures, gave kids the chance to shoot a bow and arrow. For some this was extra special as they had never shot archery before. Parents stood proudly watching as their kids gained new confidence in these two sports.
The evening was filled full of fun activities to explore and wonderful families with enthusiastic attitudes! The SOLE program would like to thank all of our partners, volunteers, STEM Launch staff, and everyone who attended that made the night a success!