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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Happy campers explore world of nature

Lick+Creek+Park
Photo by Photo by Tori Fluellen
Lick Creek Park

The Nature Center at Lick Creek Park in College Station provides learning experiences such as scavenger hunts and bird watching for those who are interested in the outdoors.
Lick Creek Nature Center made its grand opening in October and officially became active in January, according to Ana Romero, city of College Station parks & recreation manager. The center is home to an amphitheater, indoor and outdoor classrooms, hiking trails, bird watching stations, rotating exhibits, gardening, yoga and a monarch butterfly garden. The center also offers educational programs geared toward children, but welcomes visitors of all ages to explore from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday.
The city of College Station did not have a space tailored toward nature before Lick Creek Nature Center, according to Margie Trame, assistant recreation supervisor for facilities and events. She said the center gives younger members of the community the opportunity to learn about nature in a new way.
“There are many ways for us to introduce kids to different programs, and I think Lick Creek, the Center itself, is where you can get hands-on experience with different soils, plants, native plants,” Romero said. “It gives them a view of conservation, and it is extremely important for the kids to keep coming back to the parks and for them to enjoy the outdoor environment.”
The Nature Center offers camps that deal with nature, insects, wildlife and survival skills as well as themed nature camps, including Harry Potter and Spy/Lego camps that began this summer. The camps occur two times a day and typically include three to five camp supervisors who are grouped with 40 kids ranging from seven to 12 years old.
“The camps are themed each week,” Emily Thornton, recreation supervisor, said. “Usually, we start with a hike of some kind. We try not to just do a hike, typically they are looking for bird nests, spider webs or different animal habitats. After the hike, we typically do some activity in the Nature Center including crafts or something related to the theme that week.”
Community businesses including Bear Mountain, the College Station Game Warden, Urban Interface and Texas A&M Forestry help teach children techniques and skills at the center, according to Trame. The Nature Center’s main goal is to educate youth about the basic skills they would need while being out in the wild.
“It’s exciting to see them learn something that they don’t typically have access to, especially now where everything is so technology focused,” Thornton said. “Now they get the chance to get their hands dirty, go on a hike, learn about insects, birds and different plants. It’s nice to teach kids something that they wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn.”
Students at schools, including Rock Prairie Elementary School, visit the Nature Center to actively engage in learning class material in a physical setting, according to Romero.
“You never see the kids bored,” Romero said. “They’re always active, moving and always seeing new insects or a new plant, building new survival skills. It is just amazing to see how their eyes open to the world.”

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