Warrick County kids will have an opportunity to learn about the outdoors through the Conservation Crusaders program at Friedman Park in Newburgh.
These few days of morning activities throughout the summer are a collaborative effort between Purdue Extension, Warrick County Soil and Water Conservation District and Friedman Park.
The first Conservation Crusaders program met on Tuesday, June 4 and the theme was "Home Sweet Habitat."
Amanda Mosiman with Purdue Extension taught the children about different habitats.
"She taught them about what an animal needs when it comes into its habitat," said. Whitney McGrew, the executive director of the Warrick County Soil and Water Conservation District. "Food, shelter and water."
McGrew also showed off a black rattlesnake and a box Lincoln turtle before the kids went around the explore different habitats throughout the park.
"We wanted to show them different things an animal might use in their habitat," she said.
Moisman and McGrew both agreed the goal of Conservation Crusaders is to help students see the beauty of Indiana.
"We want them to know they don't have to go to the Amazon to see something cool," McGrew said. "They can see it right in their backyards."
"We want them to recognize the beauty of this place," Mosiman added. "A lot of times, you don't think it's cool until you get older and realize wow, we live in a beautiful place."
Mosiman said they also wanted the children to learn something outdoors.
"Because it's good for their physical and mental health," she said. "We also wanted them to learn about conservation and to connect them with things they wouldn't normally see."
After each class, children will be given an optional take home assignment in which they visit somewhere like the Observatory in Lynnville or the Warrick County Museum.
"A lot of the times these kids just stick to their city or town," McGrew said. "And we want them to explore other areas of Warrick County they haven't been too before."
McGrew said she is grateful for her partnership with Mosiman and Schitter.
"You can get a lot more done when you work together," she said. "And we all have similar backgrounds but different bases so we tripled our outreach."
"It's huge for the parks department," Schitter said. "We love the opportunity to help kids learn about conservation."
Schitter said Friedman Park, which opened on Memorial Day in May 2017, is great but that a lot of people different realize they have a lot of nature areas.
"We have a wetland habitat and 2.6 miles of nature trails," he said.
McGrew said children of all ages are welcome to participate in Conservation Crusaders.
"We wanted a free program for kids because not all programs are free," she said.
The next Conservation Crusaders program will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on June 18 with a "Wacky World of Worms" theme. Students will learn about "The Good, the Bad, the Invasive" from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on July 2, before they catch the "Ride the Rain" class from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on July 16 and the last class of the summer, "Catch the Buzz," which will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Aug. 6.
To register for the Conservation Crusaders program, call 812-897-2840 ext. 3.
McGrew said if you attend enough of the classes, you will get a prize on the last day.
"We will have a big end of summer celebration and grill hot dogs," she said
The three agree the main goal is to give kids an experience to learn something, but also have a ton of fun.
"Kids aren't allowed to get dirty any more, they have to be all prim and proper," McGrew said. "And we give kids a cool way to get excited about conservation which is important because they are the future."