Park ranger Veronica Kelly of the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge described the Junior Refuge Manager program as a chance for kids to nurture love of nature.
Kelly said the program will get the children outdoors as the program features different experiences about nature, while covering a wide array of topics. Though the program is short, it will focus on encouraging the kids to go outside, rather than sitting, watching television, and playing video games.
It will feature 6 main events, which will provide the children opportunities to learn about the trees, birds, habitats, wetlands, pollination and more. It is basically an educational experience geared towards the elementary-aged students, although their younger sisters and brothers can tag along.
On Thursday, the Wetland Investigation started and 16 students turned out for the event. Kelly said the discussion covered a lot of topics from the habitants in the wetlands to determining what exactly a wetland is.
Kelly said the discussion was basically general information, but hopefully would grab the children’s interest. Getting outside will certainly grab the kids’ interest as they can witness what’s really out there, she said. The park ranger is also hoping that the experience will help the children in becoming future stewards of the land, strongly believing that they will get a bigger picture and appreciation of the wildlife.
Meanwhile, Ken Block said that wetland conservation is the fundamental mission of the refuge. The refuge was initially established so as to protect the entire area and the waterfowl that inhabit there. The junior manager program participants went among the tadpoles, frogs, ducks, insects, and other animals that consider the DeSoto wetlands their home.
Block said that they had the children walk the wetland’s edge, while they were holding scoop nets and identification sheets. The kids were able to scoop different stuff with some water and then poured it into a container. Later, they allowed the kids to figure out, which stuff were they able to scoop, making use of magnifying glass.
Besides the junior manager program, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge also promotes other upcoming programs, including the Family Nature Hike to be held on June 11, Thursday. As a part of the National Trails Day celebration, the group will offer a carpool to explore the Cottonwood Trail, and then hiking a little less than a mile. The DeSoto authorities encourage the participants to wear proper and comfortable clothing such as sturdy footwear, and to bring along at least a bottle of water.
There will also be Birding for Beginners program scheduled on June 25, Thursday, wherein participants will be accustomed with binoculars, learning how to use field guides in identifying birds. The attendees will be outdoors to observe birds throughout the Binocular Boot Camp, after the field guide orientation.
Other programs also include the Wildlife Habitats, Tremendous Trees, and the Pollinators and their Plants. Each program has a set date and time, covering topics under its respective category. The DeSoto authorities guarantee fun and learning at the same, and encourage attendees from all ages, while prioritizing the school-aged children to participate in the fun-filled activities in store for them.