Blanco State Park was a beehive of activity on Friday, May 9, when more than 80 third graders from Blanco Elementary School descended upon the park for the 5th annual Kids Day Out Program. Although the weather forecast was for the possibility of rain, the day started out warm, calm and humid. However, by the end of the program, we all had to rush for cover as the skies opened, up bringing some much needed, very welcome rains.
The Kids Day Out Program is a day for the third graders to experience nature first-hand outside of the traditional classroom. They are exposed to a wide array of subjects and are provided hands-on opportunities to learn about various aspects of wildlife and the environment. The program this year was supported by numerous volunteers, most of whom were Highland Lakes Master Naturalists (the Highland Lakes Chapter covers Blanco, Llano and Burnet Counties).
Throughout the day, the third graders moved through a series of learning stations which focused on different animal species: mammals, bats, birds, fish and spiders. They also participated in an interactive game where they explored the habitat needs of wildlife and how different species compete for resources in order to survive. The final station involved a watershed model which addressed topics such as pollution, erosion and the impact of human actions on the water around us.
The day concluded with a presentation by local herpetologist Jared Holmes who shared his cache of snakes with the kids, ensuring that they understood the importance of snakes to the ecosystem and helping them to develop a respect and appreciation for them.
Organizer Connie Barron reported that departing comments from the children, teachers, parents and volunteers indicated that a fun and rewarding time was had by all. In fact, one student said that this was his first visit to Blanco State Park and, to quote him, “It was one of the best days of my life!” Simply, but powerfully put! Thanks to all who helped make this another successful “Kids Day Out” at Blanco State Park.