When rain puts a damper on our outdoor adventure plans, the Muddy Mountain Adventure Days hosted by the Bureau of Land Management, come to us. Our Club members were transported in time to historic hunting days. They imagined themselves with wings like a golden eagle and discovered life through the eyes of a paleontologist. This was the 1st Muddy Mountain Adventure Day at the Club, and our Club youth were all for it!
“Our goal with this program is to teach families what the public land has to offer,” stated the Director of BLM, Katy Kuhnel. “Most of these kiddos, when asked, say they’ve zero experience with camping, hiking, or artillery. We want to expose them to this world of wildlife and adventure so to give them insight and opportunity.”
There were six stations around the gym and at each one, Club kids found something exciting. They learned about wild plants – which are to be avoided and which are helpful. Kids learned about camping, fossils, and antlers. At a hunting station, there were two gel blocks that demonstrated the effects of a bullet shot. One highlight moment for the kiddos was learning how to throw an Atlatl. Using a stick and a spear, Atlatls are ancient weapons that preceded the bow and arrow in most parts of the world and are one of humankind’s first mechanical inventions.
Rob Swanson of the Bureau of Land Management instructed the Atlatl lessons. “It’s important today’s youth learn about this amazing historical tool. Essentially, this is both a history and STEM lesson; these tools, which have been found all over the world, are historical engineering tools.”
One boy shouted, “I threw it so good!” and eagerly asked for another try.
But no adventure-packed afternoon would be complete without spending time in the presence of majestic, real-life creatures. Sarah Pruden, the Outreach Coordinator for Teton Raptor Center, shared two birds: a 16-year-old golden eagle named Gus and a 5-year-old peregrine falcon named Hunter. During the demonstration, the kids could scarcely contain their questions and excitement over the birds.
“These birds are teachers and ambassadors for their species!” expressed Miss Sarah. “What this demonstration does, is give kids real-life experience to peak their interests in wildlife. These creatures deserve respect and dignity, and that’s what we’re teaching youth.