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'Aiming for Outdoor Fun' event held in Miltona

At the Science Doesn't Stink! station, (left to right) Colton Converse, Brady Swendsrud and Parker Converse tried their skills in scat identification. (Contributed photo)1 / 2
Jaqui Neitzert made a bird nest that will hold eggs and stuffed birds at an Aiming for Outdoor Fun event at Miltona Science Magnet School on May 18. (Contributed photo)2 / 2

Nearly 150 children and their families attended an Aiming for Outdoor Fun event held at the Miltona Science Magnet School on Saturday, May 18.

Prairie to Woods Whitetails, Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) teamed up with the school to encourage families to explore the outdoors.

The outdoor activities included scavenger hunts on nature trails, learning about raptors, building bird nests, and geocaching. Other activities included archery, scoring and aging bucks, scat identification, and matching antlers/horns to animals.

Children in grades 3 and up were able to try the archery equipment. They learned the importance of following safety guidelines and the proper technique to use while shooting a bow. Nerf bows and NXT Generation bows were available for children younger than 3rd grade.

In the aging and scoring deer station, children used teeth to try to age the deer. They learned to score a deer by measuring the tine lengths, main beam lengths, circumference of the main beams, and the inside spread of the antlers. They also compared typical and non-typical bucks.

Geocaching with the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) was a popular activity. This is an outdoor, treasure-hunting activity in which the participants use the GPS to seek hidden containers (called "geocaches" or "caches"). Families were looking to collect six beads to add to a bracelet.

The school's nature trails were used for scavenger hunts. Some signs of animals were real - deer beds and scraps, scat, animal tracks - while others were staged. Children checked off animals as they sighted them and tallied and graphed birds they spotted.

In the kids' court, there were many bird activities including creating a bird nest, guessing raptor weights and wing span, and a fill the bill activity that simulated how birds use their beaks to get food.

This was the third Aiming for Outdoor Fun event in which the QDMA branch has partnered with Miltona School. Because of donations from QDMA and the Youth as a Resource grant through the United Way, families were able to attend for free.

Miltona Science Magnet School has provided a free family fun event for surrounding communities for the past six years.