A collaboration of 11 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 third year as a county-wide program, the No Family Left Indoors program continues to expand the number of participating organizations. For 2013 there are two new participating organizations, the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, which will be leading a program at their Hidden Pond Preserve, and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, which will be leading an Outdoor Challenge and their regional office in Hastings.
Hundreds of families have participated in these programs over the past two 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 that 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 Summer 2013 Schedule
Tuesdays in June, July and August
6:30 – 8 pm
All programs are free
Call (269) 721-4190 to register. Or, register below.
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.
Finding Frogs - Hidden Pond Preserve
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. Sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.
Family Night at Camp – Camp Algonquin
Families will enjoy a couple hours of camp, including camp games, a climbing wall, and a boat ride. Sponsored by the Barry County YMCA Camp Algonquin.
Nesting Season - Otis Sanctuary
Mid-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 a 1.5 mile hike. Sponsored by the Michigan Audubon Society.
Cache Me if You Can - Charlton Park
Participants will learn about the fun activity of geocaching at Charlton Park, which involves hiding and finding “caches” using GPS receivers. Participants will have the opportunity to hunt down geocaches found in the park. Sponsored by Charlton Park.
Paint as You Listen – Putnam District Library
The Thornapple Arts Council will provide participants with the opportunity to explore their creativity while painting during the “Lyrics on the Lawn” event at the Putnam District Library in Nashville. Sponsored by the Thornapple Arts Council.
Plantastic! – Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Plants are fantastic! Discover what plants do to survive through the seasons by participating in a variety of outdoor activities and exploration of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute’s prairies and ponds. Sponsored by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
Trail the Woodpeckers – Middleville’s Stagecoach Park
Learn about woodpeckers through a puppet show and stories. Participants will walk down the Paul Henry Trail to the fishing dock and bridges looking for woodpeckers and the holes they have made in the trees. The Thornapple River Watershed Council will also provide a fishing experience for children off the fishing dock. Sponsored by the Thornapple Trail Association and the Thornapple River Watershed Council.
Make a Walking Stick - Middleville’s Stagecoach Park
Learn what it takes to make or purchase a good walking stick. Participants will have the opportunity to make a walking stick and use it as they walk down the Paul Henry Trail to the fishing dock looking for wildlife. Sponsored by the Chief Noonday Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.
Scavenger Hunt at River Walk Trail – Hastings Public Library
Discover hidden gems in our local landscape and streetscape. This scavenger hunt will involve photos of local landmarks, interesting buildings, and some of the area’s sculptures seen from a different point of view. Identify where each photo was taken while exploring the areas right outside our doors. The families who locate all their scavenger sheet’s photos will be part of the grand prize drawing. Sponsored by the Hastings Public Library.
Pond Exploration - Clear Lake Camp
It might wiggle, hop, or dive, but be prepared to get out on the boardwalk with a dip net to catch pond critters. Everybody catches something to look at! If there is time, participants will end with a campfire and a story. Sponsored by the Battle Creek Outdoor Education Center.
Mission Possible: Outdoor Challenge – Barry Eaton District Health Department
Families will play the role of secret agents as they work in groups to solve trivia, complete an obstacle course, and search for clues. Come learn the secrets to being healthy while completing a fun mission outdoors. Sponsored by the Barry Eaton District Health Department.
Please be sure to check the event location, as each of the 11 events are hosted at a different site. Only Plantastic! is hosted at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.
Key Sponsor for No Family Left Indoors: Additional Support Provided by:
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.