Elk Creek ranch hosts nature program

Mar 21, 2014 8:34 PM

Some North State elementary school students got to leave the classroom today for hands-on learning at Three Creeks Ranch in Elk Creek. Fourth graders from Murdock Elementary in Willows left their computers, tablets, and cell phones at home and took a trip out into the countryside for the annual Pathways to Nature Program.

For the past 5 years, Chet and Angela Vogt have been hosting the program at their ranch. They feel it’s important for kids to get out of town and get their hands dirty. "Many of these kids, even though they live in a semi-rural area, never get out into the countryside. This is an exposure for the kids and we feel that this connection between kids and nature is very important," said Chet Vogt of Three Creeks Ranch in Elk Creek.

Students participated in hands on activities put on by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and many more volunteers. The kids say they gained a lot from the experience from the program. "We've been learning about wildlife, where things come from, how they can survive, how they can blend in with their environment, and all sorts of stuff about wildlife," said Ashton Awad, 4th grader at Murdock Elementary. Alex Ayala, a 4th grader, added "in Willows, you don't really get to see this much of the environment and I feel really lucky that I can come here and get to know about animals and see real life animals."

Teachers say the activities go along with the curriculum in the classroom and it helps the students learn while having fun. "To actually get out in nature and do some hands on applications to the things we're learning in class like math and science, it kind of opens up their eyes like 'wow, these things actually do apply to my life,’" explained Joshua Niehues, 4th grade teacher at Murdock Elementary.

Volunteers and organizers say more kids should have access to programs like these and they'd like to see the program grow. "We feel that this is a beginning. This is an opportunity for a much bigger program. We'd love to have more of these sessions out here and encourage other ranching communities to do the same because getting those town kids out into the country we feel is very important," said Chet Vogt.

If you'd like more information about the program, you can send an email to vranch@elkcreek.com.


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