Two Days of Family Fun
The Cambria County Conservation District decided to change up our annual Family Day event this year to include not one, but two days of family fun! The first day of events was held on Wednesday July 24 at Duman Lake County Park near Nicktown, PA. Participants were broken into two smaller groups in order to allow for easy transitioning from education station to station.
The day featured a boating safety oral presentation provided by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, followed by kayaking and canoeing on the lake. Some of the participants had prior knowledge, while others experienced their first encounter with kayaking and canoeing that morning. As always the session was a one of great interest and an annual favorite. A wildlife crime was committed and solved with the help of Family Day participants, during the PA Game Commission’s ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ session. The Game Commission walked everyone through a hypothetical crime scene analyzing various clues that real life wildlife investigators encounter. Through clues and intuition the ‘crimes’ were solved! An exciting presentation by the United States Department of Agriculture showcased many native mammal species, and the dangers of an every changing role in which wildlife sometimes interacts with humans. They shared information about wildlife in parks and how to keep yourself safe from rabies. Participants were able to see and touch real animal pelts, and finish up the session with a fun game of wildlife tag. The day ended with a very well explained presentation by the Cambria County Dairy Princess on the dairy industry, while handing out ice cream treats!
Disaster’s Edge Environmental Center in St. Michael was the location of the second day of events held on Friday August 9. Participants were rotated through three education stations, all focusing on our theme of BUGS! Capri Stiles-Mikesell of Penn State Extension gave a presentation on the invasive species, the Spotted Lantern Fly that has been sweeping through the state. She provided information on the bug’s life cycle and the detrimental effects they can have on an ecosystem. She showed specimens of the bug and passed around virtual reality glasses that put you right in the epicenter of the infestation. Next, participants moved to a station all about everyone’s favorite pollinator, the bee. The owners of Yellow Bear Apiary, a local honey producer, showed participants the steps they need to take in order to harvest the honey we have come to love. They showed replicates of their equipment and displayed high quality close up photographs of some of the bees they have doing the important jobs the bees have within their hive. To wrap up a day all about bugs, the District had Ryan ‘the Bug-man’ host a program. As the name suggests, Ryan had lots and lots of bugs. Bugs from around the world, and bugs from our backyard. He wowed the crowd with a variety of beautiful specimens and taught the importance these insects play in our environment. He brought a few friends along with him, like a scorpion and a tarantula, which he left anyone brave enough hold. The up close contact with these bugs left quite a memorable impression. The day wrapped up again with ice cream treats handed out by the Dairy Ambassador.
Both Family Day events were a success with spreading education and fun to local families. The days were made possible by the generous donations of snacks from Snyder of Berlin, drinks from Coca-Cola, and ice cream from Dairy Queen of Blair County. Thank you to all donators, and those who put on presentations!