Local kids celebrate the outdoors this weekend
BARSTOW — Some local children have never gone hiking in the desert, been on a camping trip, or stepped foot in a national park.
Some children have the opportunity to get outdoors but decide to stay in and play video games.
To encourage kids to go outside and be active in area public parks, Barstow’s Desert Discovery Center is holding an outdoor celebration for the first national Get Outdoors Day.
National Get Outdoors Day campaign was founded by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service along with the American Recreation Coalition as a way to connect Americans, especially youth, to public parks and outdoor activities, according to the recreation coalition.
Rose Beardshear, volunteer coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management, said the Desert Discovery Center is well suited to host the event because it is located on eight acres of open land in easy walking distance of residential areas.
“The Desert Discovery Center is unique because we have all of this public land in the heart of Barstow,” Beardshear said.
Several children from the Greater Hope Foundation and their foster families will be attending the event, Beardshear said. Bianca Sanchez, director of Barstow’s Greater Hope Foundation, considered the an opportunity for the children to experience nature in the High Desert, some for the first time. Sanchez had previously been interested in bringing a group of children to visit the Desert Discovery Center, which is open to the public and has hands on activities for kids along with a variety of local wildlife.
“Some of these kids move from place to place, others are from the city, and they haven’t had a chance to see what’s out here,” Sanchez said.
The event, which is open to everyone, will take place this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The day will feature an interactive trail where kids can visit stations that will teach them about different aspects of life outdoors. At the beginning of the trail everyone will get a passport that they can get stamped at each station. Children who collect at least five stamps on their passport will receive a free lunch. The stations will include activities such as global positioning system training, wildlife displays and a hands on worm composting demonstration, according to the BLM.
In addition to the activities for children vendors will be selling popcorn, demonstrating outdoor equipment, and holding drawings. Burrtec Waste Industries will be collecting used athletic shoes to be recycled into playground surfaces by Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program. Anyone who donates their used athletic shoes of any brand will be entered in a drawing to win an MP3 player.
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