What a beautiful sight! It’s certainly uplifting to see children and parents’ hike in our local parks while observing butterflies, identifying native trees, listening to birdcalls and discovering animal tracks. Ozark Society Young Naturalists began sessions this fall for children ages seven to nine.
This new initiative for the Highlands and Sugar Creek Chapters of the Ozark Society presents outdoor learning opportunities in the fall and spring. Each Sunday afternoon focuses on a different topic. Geology, botany, entomology, reptile studies and bird appreciation are topics for our Sunday outings. Hiking while discovering birds and bugs, rocks and flowers seems like a great way for families with young children to spend Sunday afternoons!
We generally have between 11 or 12 students along with their parents or grandparents. They include students from at least 4 elementary schools. This fall we partnered with the Audubon Society, Master Naturalists, Prism Elementary, and the University of Arkansas Entomology Department. The program greatly benefited from critical input, program presentation and support provided by other organizations.
What’s going on now? We’re planning our spring sessions. Presently, a geology unit is in the works and the Master Naturalists will be presenting an insect program. We are also considering a session on wild flowers.
During the interim period between the fall and spring sessions, we provide Sunday hikes. Honestly, these hikes have not been as well attended as the learning sessions. Undeterred, we’re thinking of changing things up a bit, and working on map reading skills as we hike in our local parks.