Young Naturalists and Nature Explorers begin in June

Photo of a boy looking at a monarch caterpillar

If you were lost in the woods, would you know how to start a fire, how to build a shelter, how to find water?

If your 10- to 12-year-old participates in this summer’s Young Naturalists program at the Dickinson County Nature Center, they will know how to do all of these tasks. The bi-weekly program beginning 1 p.m. Thursday, June 16, will focus on Outdoor Survival Skills.

“This is good information to know that could potentially save their lives,” said naturalist Charles Vigdal. “Plus, outdoor survival is popular right now with all the zombie shows and apocalypse shows. It’s fun while still being relevant.”

On weeks opposite of Young Naturalists, children ages 6-9 can get Wet & Wild during the Nature Explorers programs, beginning 10:30 a.m. June 9. Participants will learn about what animals live in the water, will investigate the microscopic water world and will even experiment with H20.

“I hope our programs at the nature center pique the interests of the kids who attend,” said naturalist Mary Petersen. “I want them to have a great time while they’re here, but what is even more important is that they are excited to get outside and explore even more when they head home. I hope we can set the tone for what it looks like to have fun outside while learning about the world around us.”

Nature Explorers will be held 10:30 a.m. June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21 and Aug. 4.

Even toddlers have the chance to learn and explore at the Dickinson County Nature Center with the year-round Nature Tots program that continues this summer. Themes for the season include Wild Wetlands 10:30 a.m. June 8, Get Muddy 10:30 a.m. July 13, Monarch Mania 10:30 a.m. Aug. 10 and Everybody Poops 10:30 a.m. Sept. 14.

Nature Tots has become a popular program at the nature center, drawing in 20-25 children each month.

“I think parents are discovering that their littles ones are naturally interested in the world around them,” Petersen said. “As parents, we often tend to seek out fancy toys to entertain our kids, but I think many of us are learning that we can’t re-create the experiences we are able to give our kids in nature.”

Young Naturalists, Nature Explorers and Nature Tots are all free, one-hour programs. Please pre-register children by calling 712-336-6352.

“In a world filled with electronics, it just makes sense to carve out time to get our kids outdoors and instill in them the importance of being connected to nature,” Petersen said. “The best part of our programs is that we let the kids’ interests guide our teaching.”

For more information on summer youth programming or other Dickinson County Nature Center events. You can also keep up with the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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