ST CHARLES MO - Special places that help clean water, reduce flooding and provide homes to fascinating plants and animals are worth celebrating. They can be a lot of fun too.
That’s the idea behind the annual Wetlands for Kids Day event happening this year on Saturday, April 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. Wetlands for Kids Day is sponsored by the Dana Brown Charitable Trust and US Bank. It’s hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Ducks Unlimited. The event is free and open to both kids and adults.
“Wetlands are a very precious resource that a lot of people don’t understand,” said Dan Crigler, MDC Private Lands Conservationist who is coordinating the event.
He explained that Wetlands for Kids Day is an effort to help demonstrate the importance of these special environments. “We do it through enjoyable activities that relate fun with wetlands,” said Crigler.
The activities include more than 20 stations where visitors can learn about wetland creatures first hand. There will be a chance to see real birds of prey, thanks to the World Bird Sanctuary. A live reptile and amphibian station will allow a close up look at these wetland inhabitants. Kids can explore the Duck Wing Maze while learning to identify ducks by wings and plumage along the way. They can also crawl through a beaver den.
Retriever demonstrations are popular with visitors who enjoy watching dogs perform on land and water. Other stations include free fish tasting, air rifle shooting and archery skills. New this year will be a fly rod casting station.
“It’s just so much fun to see these kids interact with the various stations,” Crigler observed. “They’re smiling and the parents are having a good time. I just like to see the enthusiasm and fun that people have.”
Each child who attends gets a free Ducks Unlimited Greenwing membership and a subscription to Puddler Magazine. All kids who come to the event will also receive a free tree seedling from MDC.
In keeping with its watery theme, Wetlands for Kids Day will go on rain or shine. In the event of wet weather, the event will be moved indoors.
Rain is one of the reasons wetlands are important to protect, noted Crigler. They act as sponges that absorb rainwater; then release it slowly. The result is less flooding.
“They just have so many unique and valuable assets,” he said, “that we want to share that with the public and the kids.”
Crigler also stressed that Wetlands for Kids Day is a team effort, referring to the many MDC and Ducks Unlimited staff members and volunteers who make the event possible, along with the financial support of the Dana Brown Charitable Trust and US Bank.
“We’re thankful they’re all in the mix and we appreciate everything they do,” he said.
To learn more about Wetlands for Kids Day, call 636-441-4554.
The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located in St. Charles on Route D, about two miles west of Highway 94.