A collaboration of 10 different Barry County organizations to help get families outside together.
The No Family Left Indoors program provides a free weekly activity in Barry County led by a local non-profit organization. These programs are designed to provide a fun way for families to enjoy time outside and explore the resources of Barry County. Now in its fourth year as a county-wide program, the No Family Left Indoors program continues to foster collaboration and partnership in Hastings, Delton, Middleville, Dowling, and the rest of Barry County.
Hundreds of families have participated in these programs over the past three years and have appreciated learning about new places and having the opportunities to try new things.
“One of the reasons that the organizations are interested in participating is to help attract people to the unique places of Barry County and to help the public recognize our local resources” said Matthew Dykstra, program manager at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. “Many of us are busy doing our regular programs throughout the year, but this is a great opportunity to go after a broader audience and to have a lot of fun with the people that participate.”
The program has its origins in the No Child Left Inside national initiatives. Inspired by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, people around the nation recognized that children today were spending much less time outside just playing and exploring. This has contributed to a variety of consequences, including poorer health, less understanding and appreciation for the natural world, even lower levels of some social skills. Children (and adults too) need the time to interact with, to relax in, and to learn from the natural world for their health. An important goal of the No Family Left Indoors programs is to provide an easy way for families in Barry County to spend time outdoors doing fun activities together.
No Family Left Indoors is generously sponsored by Pennock Health Services
No Family Left Indoors Summer 2014
Tuesdays in June, July and August
6:30 – 8 pm
All programs are free
Call (269) 721-4190 to register.
Once again Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is pleased to be a part of the Barry County community’s No Family Left Indoors program. There are several new locations and new organizations participating this year. All programs are free and include light refreshments. Participants are welcome to just show up, but pre-registration is very helpful for planning purposes.
June 3 – Nesting Season at Otis Sanctuary – Early-June is an excellent time for viewing and listening to nesting birds. Join a seasoned birder at Otis Sanctuary who will help participants recognize birds by their songs, appearance, and habitats on this 1.5 mile hike. Held at Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary.
June 10 – Family Night at Camp – Families will enjoy a couple hours of camp, including camp games, a climbing wall, and a boat ride. Held at YMCA Camp Algonquin.
June 17 – Beginner Mountain Biking – Kids can learn to build their skills on this local trail and then try longer area mountain bike trails, such as the Deep Lake Trail in Yankee Springs. No bikes will be available, so bring a bike to participate. Held at Wildwood Trails Park in Middleville.
June 24 – Compass Crusaders – Participants will learn the basics of how to use a traditional compass and how to read a map with a compass. These skills will be put into practice by completing an orienteering course in the park. Held at Charlton Park.
July 1 – Finding Frogs at Hidden Pond – Whether it is bullfrogs or leopard frogs, kids will have the opportunity to get their feet wet and look for their favorite amphibians at Hidden Pond Preserve.
July 8 – Music Makers – Listen to music, see a demonstration of drums and drumming, and make a drum at this event sponsored by the Thornapple Arts Council. Held on the courthouse lawn in Hastings.
July 22 – Tremendous Trees – Michigan is the land of trees and was once covered nearly end-to-end with massive trees. Learn more about Michigan’s trees and the roles they play both in cities and in forests through a variety of exploration activities. Held at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
July 29 – Backpacking and Fishing – North Country Trail Association will do a demonstration on what to bring on an overnight trail hike. The Thornapple River Watershed Council will do fishing demonstrations and give youth an opportunity to fish on the river. Held at Stagecoach Park in Middleville.
August 5 – Photo Scavenger Hunt –Enjoy a walk through downtown Hastings and the Riverwalk Trail to look for architectural details, identify sculptures from different angles, and match natural formations to photos. Bring the scavenger hunt sheet back to the library by 8 pm to be entered into the evening’s prize drawing. Held at the Hastings Public Library.
August 12 – Pond Exploration – It might wiggle, hop or dive but kids will get out on the boardwalk with a dip net to catch pond critters. Everybody catches something to look at! If there is time, the program will end with a campfire and story. Held at Clear Lake Camp of the Battle Creek Outdoor Education Center near Dowling.
Please be sure to check the event location, as each of the 10 events are hosted at a different site. Only Tremendous Trees on July 22 is hosted at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
There are several inexpensive ways you can introduce your child or grandchild to nature while helping them develop their muscles, fine tune their senses, increase their cognitive skills, and have a healthy respect for the environment. Many activities can be inexpensive or at no cost because we already have all the tools we need to explore the outdoors, being our hands, eyes, ears, and noses.
Here are some activities you can try at home or when out on a walk in the neighborhood or at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.