My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Playtime At Moosehorn

School finally finished up last week for the children of Washington County.  As in all the schools I've been involved with, the children get to to on field trips.  We had 60 children from our nearby town of Calais come to the refuge.  I was on the team that planned a set of environmental activities that the children could cycle through.

We had three teams of two people each that ran the activities.  Because I was running an activity, I didn't get to get pictures of the other ones.  But one activity was to play a predator-prey game.  The next one was to learn facts about deer.  Bridget and I played the game Oh Deer, with the kids. About one fourth of them start off being deer, while the rest of the children are habitat. At each cycle, the deer decide if they need food, water, or shelter, while the habitat group get to decide to be one of those pieces of habitat. While their backs are turned to each other, the kids make their signs for each part of the habitat. Then they face each other across a field, and the deer run to a child making the same sign.  Successful deer bring their habitat child back to the deer side, so the numbers of deer rise and fall, based on the success of getting what they need.

Bridget leading one of the groups in Oh Deer

Even under cloudy skies, the kids enjoyed the hike

I missed the grab shot, so this is posed but shows their Scavenger Hunt sheets

I don't know what they found but it was fascinating

The last activity was done by the by the teachers.  We gave them sheets of things to find and then sent them on one of the trails to see what they could find. All the children seemed to have a fantastic time. But one sad thing for me was, during the introduction, Peggy, our Office and Environmental Educational Manager, asked the children, who all live within 20 miles of the refuge, how many of them had ever been there. Only a fourth or less had.

Then yesterday - I'm writing this on Sunday morning because of a long day of work and play  - the Refuge held their annual children's fish derby down at Cobstock State Park which is on refuge land in our Edmunds Division, which is about 30 miles south of the Baring Division where I live and work.  Those of us working met at 8:00 at the maintenance area and hauled down tables, bags tof goodies to hand out to the participants, extra fishing poles, worms, hot dogs, buns, chips, cookies, drinks, ice and other materials to run the Fish Derby.

Families started coming in a little after nine and the excitement built as each participant  picked what they thought would be a winning spot.  around a large, stocked pond at the park headquarters. Parents set up chairs, and many opened tackle boxes, although all the kids fished with earthworms.

Finally ten o'clock arrived and the staff greeted everyone, went over the rules, and sounded the opening siren.  Fishing commenced, broken by announcements of prizes given by a drawing.  There were also prizes for the first fish caught and for the most weight of fish caught. The kids could fish until the siren ran at noon.  Then they brought their trout, which they put in the bags we gave them, in to be weighed.  Then the kids in three age groups who had the most fish by weight also won prizes. About eleven o'clock, Ray was grilling hot dogs, the red-skinned ones that are a Maine delicacy, and people were starting to trickle in to pick up a hot dog, chips, drinks, and cookies. It was soon a flood.  I helped dispense hot dogs in buns.  But by about twelve-thirty, most people had eaten, the prizes had been given out, and we were ready to load up the left-overs and head back to the refuge.

Kursten sets up the fishing poles we loan out 

Organizing the mess from unloading

Setting up the food table

Laurine, the OTHER volunteer setting up posters to give away

Bridget on left and Kristina registered everyone

The first fish caught - loved that it was a little girl and she won a PINK fishing pole

Fishing time  - that's Ray - one of my bosses, in the tan shirt,  helping his two boys

They start 'em fishing REALLY young up here

Amanda, our Law Enforcement Officer, supervises Mike who was chief hot-dog griller 

Murray, another boss, was the official fish weigher

We knew this day was to be the BEST day of June so far, so I planned to go to Campobello Island after I finished work. Bridget,  an intern, spends her weekends with her parents in Lubec, just across from the island,  and she invited me to stop at her house and see the foxes that live at her neighbor's house and the crows and ravens that her parents have named and feed. I then invited Kristina, another intern, and Kursten, a seasonal tech, to come with me.

We had a fabulous rest of the day, touring the Roosevelt summer cottage, a three story house with eighteen bedrooms, hiking and doing other touristy stuff. But that story will have to wait.