Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Hunt: Grand Opening

Saturday, our family went to Woodlawn Nature Center for the grand opening of The Hunt, a new exhibit that is a tribute to the late Dr. Rudy Echeverria, Sr. I had just been to the family gathering for the preview the night before. It was wonderful to hear stories of his life and the family's dedication to having children learn more about God's creations.

We started with a service project for National Public Lands Day. This happens once a year as a way to serve, clean up, and lend a hand to public spaces. Most sites also have additional activities and free entrance for the day. For the event, we were working on the climbing area of the developing outdoor classroom, Nature's Connection. When finished, it will have numerous areas to interact with nature, such as a nature art area, messy materials area, digging area, open play area, music and movement area, garden area, building area, and possibly more! Several sections have a start, though help is needed to finish them. Groups or individuals are welcome to contact the center (or me, since I'm in charge of it) if they'd like to be involved. There is a wish list and specific needs at the website.

We were working on moving wood chips to the climbing area. The City of Elkhart has graciously supplied the Center with plenty for the project. I thought I lost the baby for a bit, but he found a good hiding spot in the nearby trees. 

He also ended up on my back for much of the time. We hauled a larger limb over for a balance beam. 

There was also a Dutch Oven demonstration going on at the same time. I appreciate my husband stepping in and helping at the last minute.

After the service project, it was fun to taste the fruits of our efforts! The simple peach cobbler was a hit! 


Overall, we had a good time working and serving together as a family!

Inside, there were activities related to animals. Children and adults could made animal tracks out of rubbings or stamps. 


There was also an archeology story time, as it is Archeology Month. One girl said, "This is the most interesting thing I have learned in school." She didn't know what it was before. We looked at the tools archeologists use and discovered many of the Native people's artifacts in the nature center collection. There was also a prehistoric tools matching game, with a collection curated to see the many examples. 

It was also National Hunting and Fishing Day. There were special displays centered around The Hunt, hands-on touch and feel spots, and various word searches and activities. A video about the special day was also available. 

We went on a tour of the exhibit, which focused on Dr. Rudy Echeverria, Sr. and his hunting adventures. It also looked at various tools used as part of hunting over time, predator/prey relationships, and animals rights and wrongs. A bird talk and hands-on activities were also available, as Dr. Echeverria developed some of his connection to nature while a young boy exploring birds.