On June 21 and June 27, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) partnered with the Atlanta Audubon Society (AAS) and the Atlanta- area Latin American Association summer day camp to help kids experience and appreciate their natural world within the Chattahoochee River watershed. One hundred twenty students ranging from 8 to 12 years old participated.
CRNRA staff and volunteers took the kids on a scavenger hunt/hike in the woods and then actually got the students in a creek to look for signs of life. Looking for salamanders, crawfish, and macroinvertebrates was a unique experience for all, as the majority of these kids have not spent much time outside, much less gone “critter hunting” in fresh water. The AAS offered a birding program allowing the students to listen and try to identify birds by call, and to use binoculars to look for birds and their nests.
The program’s two days of interactive outdoor experiences were definitely successful. "It's always satisfying to watch kids experience nature in action. The "ooo's" and "whoa's!" we heard from the group as two Red-winged Blackbirds hounded a Red-tailed Hawk in flight over the parking lot certainly made my day,” said Nikki Belmonte with the Atlanta Audubon Society. Positive feedback was received from campers and camp staff, from parents, and from staff from both organizations. The CRNRA, the AAS, and the Latin American Association plan to partner on future events in the future to help kids experience and enjoy the outdoors.