Lee’s Summit, Mo. – For some youngsters it is their first time to touch a turtle or a snake. Others may be learning the names of butterflies and dragonflies they’ve seen in their backyards. Paddling a canoe on a lake is a new adventure for many. The bold help take their first fishing catch, a splashing and squirming bluegill, off the hook. Each summer, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosts the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City for four days of outdoor fun at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area.
This year, the camp runs June 25-28. More than 750 youngsters early grade school through high school ages, plus adult chaperones, are expected to attend. Attendees are divided into three levels of activities according to age. All participants will go fishing. Depending on age, some will paddle canoes or kayaks. Older youngers will shoot target archery. Education stations include study of live reptiles, collecting aquatic life with nets, collecting prairie insects with nets, touching mammal furs from possum to black bear, and creative play or art with natural materials.
On June 26, attendees got in some good fishing and exploring before a thunderstorm closed activities in mid-afternoon. At morning’s end, “some of the kids have caught four or more fish and some have been out canoeing,” said Wendy Parrett, MDC education consultant and organizer for the field day. “I think they’re having a great time.”
This Discover Nature Field Day event is a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. However, MDC offers other education programs for the general public, such as Discover Nature — Fishing. Plus, the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs and the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center offer programs for children and families through the summer.
For information about MDC programs, visit http://mdc.mo.gov. A guide to programs at the MDC nature centers and shooting ranges in the Kansas City metro area, KC Nature and You, is available at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZcY.