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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Touch of Nature to host summer adventure camps

CARBONDALE -- Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for the kids this summer? Something memorable, exciting and fun?

“There is only one word for fun this summer and that is W.O.W.!” said Travis Geske, outdoor program leader for Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center. “If swinging on ropes, climbing rocks, canoeing, hiking and caving sounds appealing to you, then Wild Outdoor Week, or W.O.W., as we call it, is definitely the place for you to be this summer.”

W.O.W. is an experiential adventure camp with the emphasis on learning and individual growth through outdoor activities and adventure. The first session July 6-10 is for youth entering grades 5-7, while the second session, July 27-31, is for those entering grades 7-9. The day camp starts at 8:30 a.m. and wraps up at 4 p.m. each day at the center’s main office.

Campers can also ride a free shuttle bus from the SIU Arena to and from the camp. The bus departs the arena at 8 a.m. and campers return there about 4:30 p.m. each day.

Participants will enjoy the teams course and canoeing, rock climbing at Giant City State Park, caving at the Illinois Caverns, hiking at Panthers Den, lots of swimming and tackling the famous Touch of Nature high ropes course. W.O.W. is a component of the Underway Adventure Program, host since the mid-1970s to thousands of people participating in exciting outdoor activities.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boys and Girls Club’s Summer Adventure signups under way

The Boys and Girls Club of Lower Merrimack Valley has announced its Summer Adventure Program registration is now open. The program runs the entire summer, starting Monday, June 22 through Friday, Aug. 28, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Ages 6-16 are welcome.

There are five two week sessions: Session I — June 22-July 3; Session II — July 6- 17; Session III July 20-31 and Session IV — Aug. 3-12; and Session V — Aug. 17-28. Each session costs $240. There is a one-time registration fee of $40 and includes a T-shirt plus. Membership is required; cost is $15 annually. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

The Boys and Girls Club is offering special activities throughout the summer, including field trips, sports, arts & crafts, nature hikes, indoor and outdoor activities, a talent show, computer games and sailing and woodworking. One of the special treats that kids enjoy is Ice Cream Day, which every Wednesday and every other Friday.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Large turnout for Arbor Day Celebration

MT. VERNON — Families celebrated the importance of trees and learned ways to care for the environment during the second annual Arbor Day Celebration Saturday at Veterans Park.

Presented by the Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department and sponsored by AmerenIP, local organizations provided youth-centered activities and food while participants experienced nature firsthand.

“I hope that [the children] know that it’s more fun to be playing outdoors than on a video game inside,” George Bryant, director of the Parks and Recreation Department said. “This is part of our Family Adventure Series that is all about experiencing new and different things outdoors with your family. These programs bring the family together.”

Bryant, who is also a certified arborist with the International Society of Arborculture, demonstrated how to plant a tree and discussed some problems people may experience once it is settled.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Nature Report: Spring fishing in Laguna Madre

If you want to keep up with Captain Todd Casey, then you will have to get up early and stay out late.

Whether it’s fishing for big trout or oversized reds, spring fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre is at its peak right now.

This time of year every year is my favorite time to fish,” Casey said. “The water is starting to warm up, everything is starting to spawn, the bait fish are moving in, the tides are getting high, it’s just kind of a magical time to be on the water.”

Casey has a knack for picking the right spots to park his boat and make a wade.

And whether it’s a late afternoon adventure or an early morning session, the fishing is usually very productive.

The quest for a big trout is always a challenge, and when Todd catches one he invariably turns it loose….to spawn and hopefully grow even larger.

Monday, May 11, 2009

WWF-Canada Announces Earth Hour Contest Winner

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 28, 2009) - Today, one month after Earth Hour, WWF-Canada announced Wanda Hall as the winner of the Earth Hour Contest to win a trip for two to Churchill, Manitoba to see first-hand the effects of climate change.

On March 28, more than 4,000 cities globally, and more than 10 million Canadians from coast-to-coast participated in Earth Hour. As an incentive to encourage people to sign-up for Earth Hour, WWF-Canada ran a contest for on-line registrants for Earth Hour, with the prize of a trip for two to Churchill - the polar bear capital of the world. Currently, there are less than 25,000 polar bears left in the wild. Canada's arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. In the past 30 years, 25 per cent of Arctic sea ice has disappeared, pushing the bears to the brink of survival.

Ms. Hall has won a three-night trip to Churchill Manitoba courtesy of Frontiers North Adventures and airfare courtesy of Sears Travel. Led by an expert guide, this adventure includes two full days on the tundra viewing and photographing polar bears and other wildlife, such as arctic fox, hare, and ptarmigan from a world famous Tundra Buggy(C).

"Visiting Churchill has been on my list of places to see for some time because I love polar bears," says trip winner, Wanda Hall. "With the effects of climate change pushing these majestic animals to the brink of extinction it makes me sad to think future generations, might never have a chance to see them in their natural habitat. I am so excited and hope I can use my experience to encourage others to do more for the planet."