Program explores the joys of outdoors | Youth

SCOTTSBLUFF — Fifth, sixth and seventh-grade students spent the day at the Trails West YMCA Camp for the ninth annual Outdoor Discovery Program.

The program, which covers two days, saw rain fall on its first day, but it didn’t deter students or volunteers during the event. David Wolf, information/education coordinator at the North Platte Natural Resources District, worked through the downpour despite rain dripping down his face and on his glasses, to teach students about disc golf.

By the end of day one, students were chilly and wet, but they all said the day was a lot of fun.

More than 750 students learned outdoor skills through interactive activities that encourage youth to be active outdoors.

“Teachers always say this is the best field trip and look forward to it to come back year after year,” said Amanda Filipi, education specialist, Wildcat Hills Nature Center.

The program provides students with connections to scientists at the event to learn about different fields of science they could pursue as they get older. Mostly, the day was about having fun in an educational setting.

Local and statewide experts showed students new skills in photography, archery, biology, kayaking, fishing, wildlife, air guns, fishing, camping games, outdoor cooking, water quality and a climbing wall.

Filipi said without the volunteers and the many partner organizations, the event wouldn’t be possible.

Twenty-five stations were organized and school groups chose their top five to visit.

The most popular skills, archery and fishing, saw large groups of students gathering around experts who taught them the finer points of each skill and learning about different creatures in and near bodies of water in the Panhandle.

Zac Brashears, biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission fisheries division in Valentine, taught students how to…

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