The Nature Explore Classroom at Treetopia @McGuire Youth Program
The staff and youth at McGuire AFB Youth Center have worked hard to clean up the damage to our "Treeopia" that was the result of harsh weather and heavy rain fall during the winter months.
The youth raked the leaves and spruced up the divided areas. We are in the process of purchasing some new equipment to enhance our areas in order to make improvements in our nature park. Some of the items purchased 2 years ago included musical instruments, tree house fabric, pails, nature materials, gardening tools and equipment. Plans to purchase new equipment and make improvements in our nature park are awaiting funds.
A favorite nature activity was making bird feeders out of recycle materials with the goal of helping the youth become caretakers of the birds and the environment. These were placed into the nature park this past spring and attracted many kinds of birds to watch and identify.
The nature area is a favorite place for the youth to explore, socialize and try out new ideas with their friends. They have had a nature scavenger hunt, bug hunts, and used the stage to put on skits they have created.
Many of our staff have participated in the AF DCO Nature Explore trainings and as a result have implemented learning activities that have helped youth identify plants, birds, and insects. In addition the youth staff encourages the children to draw pictures of what they see and write poems.
Future plans for the nature park include:
- Further staff training related to nature and the use of our "Treeopia"
- Including nature activities and news in our programs newsletters
- Purchasing new materials for "Treeopia" for the up-keep of our park
- New plaques will be made to distinguish the specific areas
- Entrance will be enhanced with branches to create an archway for the entry way