Bringing The Outdoors To The Family

Ivan VanKooten provides safety instruction to one of the many youth who participated in Youth Outdoor Field Day at Russell Wildlife Area.

Ivan VanKooten provides safety instruction to one of the many youth who participated in Youth Outdoor Field Day at Russell Wildlife Area.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The 15th Annual Youth Outdoor Field Day once again attracted kids, their families and a host of volunteers that help make it happen year after year.

On Saturday morning at the Russell Wildlife Area, the sky might have been gray, but the smiles were bright as the youth and their families had a taste of the outdoor life.

Ivan VanKooten is was one of the volunteers working with the youth at the shotgun shooting station.

“Safety first,” was the words VanKooten shared to each youth as they learned the basics before getting the opportunity to shoot the shotgun at a clay target.

VanKooten said many of the kids are absorbing a lot of information as they get ready to shoot. Some may be confused by all of the instructions, and a little scared of the unknown when they pull the trigger. “They are excited to shoot it for the first time and see what they can do. See if they can hit the target.”

VanKooten said that youth could start with the trap shooting teams at the schools in the 5th grade. “Get them interested young and give them something to do growing up.”

Many youths walked away interested in learning more about the shooting sports, which is the purpose of the outdoor field day, introducing youth to the many facets of the outdoor life.

Mahaska County Conservationist Laura DeCook said that there were 15 different activities to try out. “Our goal is for everyone to try something new.”

Building an interest or new interest in the outdoors is the hope explained DeCook.

Parents and grandparents were also encouraged to participate, and DeCook said that many might not have experienced the things being showcased on Saturday. “We just love that the parents and grandparents bring the kids out. We want them to enjoy the outdoors too.”

DeCook thanked the many volunteers that took part in making the day a successful one. “They’ve all just willingly come together to make this possible.”

Doctor Mark Zacharjasz with Mahaska Health Partnership was at the Youth Outdoor Field day talking about the use of sunscreen and bug repellent while outdoors.

Zacharjasz was sharing samples of repellent towelettes, and the benefit of using a towelette over a spray.

Insect bites can cause various illness and sometimes the overspray from the bug repellent is inhaled. “Be careful if you are using a spray not to inhale or ingest anything. They are toxic.”

“For kids younger than 10, help them put on the bug spray, whichever you use, the towelette or the spray.”

“If you are going to put it on the face, especially for kids, have them spray on their hands first, then apply it around on their face,” added Zacharjasz.

Zacharjasz recommended putting on bug repellent and sunscreen before heading outdoors and then reapplying the sunscreen about an hour after being outdoors, “just to make sure you’re covered.”

The Youth Outdoor Field Day will continue to be held at Russell Wildlife after the new environmental learning center is opened.

Posted by on Sep 29 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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