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~ Nature Day Camp ~

~ A Few Sessions at Parkville Nature Sanctuary ~

Nature Day Camp activities in Parkville Nature Sanctuary

Each year, shortly after school lets out for Summer vacation, Parkville Nature Sanctuary hosts Nature Day Camp for children ages 8 through 10

Each session consists of three days, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, which are filled with fun and educational activities

The children learn trail safety, wild animal habitat, how to identify trees, how to test stream water quality, and a multitude of other interesting things about nature.

Some popular activities are making leaf-print t-shirts using leaves gathered on the trails

Making bird houses or feeders from kits, and dissecting "owl pellets" to learn what owls eat and how their digestive process works

Other favorites are the Friday hot dog burn for lunch and wading in the creek to collect invertebrate specimens for identification.

The leaves that were collected on the hike are placed on the t-shirt and weighted by small rocks

This young lady is showing the shirt she made during an earlier camp

And then the area is cleared while the etching process is applied

Here Erwin Carney and Dianne Kixmiller are spraying on the diluted bleach solution whitch etches on the shape of the leaf

Tucking in the name tag so theye know who's shirt is which

Now another squirt or two to finish off the job

Now a break for lunch from all the morning activity

One group headed for the big fallen tree to eat in the wild

And another opted for the comfort of the picnic tables

It was fun on the log until the ants came out to share, then some rearanging was done

There they are, let's move over some...

Well, not all the way up in the trees...

Then I went home for lunch, Jim said to meet them at 1 p.m. by the lower waterfall

So I took the long walk to the falls, and I met them coming up the short way from the cabin area

Around the corner, to the creek, now gingerly entering the shallow water

Dianne bringing up the rear so no stragglers would be lost

I watched them out of sight, then took to the high trail to catch them on the way

A good day for creek walking, the water at it's normal low level

But it rained later, the creek next day was much deeper

Here and there were obstacles to duck under and climb over

No, not swinging on the vine, moving it out of the way

Looks like a little swing on the vine here

Another obstacle to climb over

Then I met the group when the Falls trail met the creek again

The kids still in pretty good shape, Jim looking a little beat there

This lad looking a bit doubtful about the situation

Here was an easy place to get out, they took a vote... get out or onward? The vote was carry on...

So... Ever Onward!

Dainne back there giving a little assistance

Around the bend past Erwin Carney's bench

And hopefully on down the creek some more

But, just a short distance farther the creek was blocked and they had to give up

But quite a few were ready to call it a day

This time Dianne leading the way

On the trek back to the picnic area

Now with Jim bringing up the rear with the stragglers

Now roughing it on the trail after ditching the wet shoes and socks

Now back at the picnic area, the start and finish of the day's camp. to work on their journals

Kind of a recap of the day, what they saw, and did and what they learned

And working away at their journals.. that finished out the day Thursday

On to Friday morning... 10:00 a.m. Dianne introducing Jim Dawes, from the
Missouri Department of Conservation

Each year, programs are provided by guest presenters

Popular programs have been provided by representatives from Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center in Blue Springs, Missouri
Lakeside Nature Center, Kansas City, Missouri
as well as other local groups and individuals

Topics have included a variety of Native Wild Animals, Birds, Bats, Reptiles, Fish and Honey Bees

Today, Jim's subject was Missouri reptiles

Part of the demonstration was a touch for those that dared

And the Star of the show was a black rat snake

But this black snake was white... a rare albino black rat snake

A close up of the snake with his beady eyes and forked tongue

Now a smaller but crankier hog nosed snake, more threat than bite, they strike like a cobra but with their mouth ~closed~

And again a careful touchy feely as these snakes will bite, but of course are not venomous

And that concluded the morning session and I went home to have lunch and work on the page

Now the final project session, Dianne giving instructions on dissecting owl pellets

The owl is known for eating everything on it's plate, later disgorging material that it can't digest

The object was to dissemble the pellets, to see the bones and other things that didnt go down well

At first there was some trepidation at what was in there, but they soon got into the hang of it

They were given a chart to match up certain bones that they might find

And soon they were adding items to their pages

Carefully matching the tiny bones to the chart

Later, returning to get some pics of the Hot Dog roast in the afternoon

Erwin was tending the fire and supervising

And of course the dessert selection was marshmallos

And seconds on the hot dogs

A little mustard always goes good

And some chips and soda

With the hot dog roast concluding I headed home to finish up another Sanctuary Web Page

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