Saturday is an exciting day for the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust. The organization is hosting several events, two of which are geared towards teaching children about nature.
The River Parkway Trust was established to protect the San Joaquin River and surrounding lands. They offer educational and recreational activities for families throughout the year.
Saturday children ages 3 ½ to 6-year-old can take part in the River Buddies Weekend Explore Program happening at the River Center, located at 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno. There’s a fee of $10 per child and online registration and payment is required in advance. You have until Thursday at Noon to sign-up.
The program runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. During the two-hour session the kids will go on a nature walk, complete a craft, sing fun songs, listen to a story and do a hands-on activity.
The theme for Saturday’s River Buddies Weekend Explore Program is “Nature Neighbors”. The children will learn about the plants and animals they come across on their walk. They’ll use life-sized animals track stamps to create tracks in the dirt and make their own snakeskin bandana.
For children ages 6 to 9-year-old, there is an adventure program taking place on Saturday as well. It’s called the Weekend Youth Naturalist Program and it is aimed to equip the next generation with skills to be natural explorers and stewards of the Earth.
The theme is “Animal Evidence.” The children will go on a nature walk and dissect owl pellets, among other activities.
“We believe that children should have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, getting dirty, playing games, and learning with their peers,” said Molly Schnur-Salimbene, the Community Programs Director for the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust. “Many children in the Fresno/Madera area are unaware that there is a river nearby, and even fewer have visited it or the natural areas that surround it.”
Parents are required to stay on-site for the duration of the children’s programs and are encouraged to participate in the activities as well.
The San Joaquin Parkway and Conversation Trust believes that everyone will leave the River Center more curious and more informed about our local environment and its native species.
“Parents who attend the programs with their children often comment on how much they learned, or how surprised they were by how well their young children were able to understand the scientific concepts,”Schnur-Salimbene said. “Many parents become excited by what they’ve learned and continue to explore the topics covered on weekend trips with their children through research at home, looking for signs of wildlife in their neighborhoods, and revisiting the sites where the programs took place.”
If you can’t make it to Saturday’s children’s events, mark your calendar for February 15th and March 14th. The River Parkway will be hosting additional River Buddies Weekend Explore Program and Weekend Youth Naturalist Program events those days.
In addition to the children’s events, the Parkway invites you to take part in a Bald Eagle Hike also on Saturday. It’s free and the 2-to-3 mile hike is low intensity.
Eagles enjoy spending winter along the shores of Millerton Reservoir. A guide will help you spot our National Bird.
“Guides provide background information on the migratory patterns and characteristics of Bald Eagles using enlarged photos and maps, and then give participants hints on where along the shoreline to look,” Schnur-Salimbene said. “Hikes move slowly, stopping often when something of interest is spotted and using a portable spotting scope to give each person the chance to take a look as the guide provides information on natural history and the local ecosystem.”
To join the Bald Eagle Hike, register online and then meet at the River Center at 8:30 a.m. Dress for the outdoors and bring binoculars, water and sunscreen. The hike will take place rain or shine. Children 12 and over are welcome, but dogs are not invited.
The Bald Eagle Hike is also happening on January 25th.
For more on all things San Joaquin River Parkway and Conversation Trust, visit their website.