From the Spring 2014 Conservationist for Kids
Let's GO - Get Outside!
By Gina Jack & Jeremy Taylor
Take a Family Hike
Take a walk or hike with your family. Explore a range of habitats by visiting a different place each month-an urban park, forest, field, wilderness park, wetland, lake or ocean. How about someplace known for its scenery? Its wildlife? Its history? While you're out, take photos or draw pictures. You can also have fun by selecting a theme like colors or shapes and try to find things that match what you've chosen, like a blue jay for the color blue. When you return home, you and your family can use your photos and drawings to make a journal. Each of you can write down what you liked best about your hike. At the end of the year, sit down together to read your journal and decide where to go the next year. Keep a map of all the places you've been and where you still want to go.
Imagine a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. Geocachers hide objects in places that can be found using GPS (global positioning system) coordinates. They pinpoint the GPS location and put it online. There are many different geocaching information websites. The "official" GPS cache hunt site is filled with information and resources. Anyone with a GPS unit can look for geocaches. They are hidden around the planet and can be found in all kinds of places, including nature centers, hiking trails, and even cemeteries (check the rules). As you look for different geocaches, you're sure to find lots of interesting things outdoors. Hide your own geocache for others to find. Include a natural object from nearby and a note explaining what it is and why you chose it.
Fishing is a great way to have fun, be outdoors, and learn a new skill. Check with a local sporting club about future fishing outings, and learn lots more about fishing from DEC's fishing website. Also, there's a whole Conservationist for Kids issue all about fishing in the Spring 2010 Conservationist for Kids (PDF, 2.45 MB). Some libraries even have programs where you can borrow a fishing pole!
New York State offers many opportunities for families to observe nature together. The New York Wildlife Viewing Guide lists many locations across the state where wildlife can be observed. Learn more about the guide and where to view wildlife in New York at DEC's Watchable Wildlife webpages.