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Columbia NFWCO Heads to the Farm
Midwest Region, May 19, 2009
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For the second year in a row, Columbia NFWCO participated in Parents and Teachers' "Down on the Farm," an annual event held at Nifong Park in Columbia, Missouri organized to connect young children (ages 0 - 5) and their families with the outdoors and farm life. This event gives children the opportunity to see, touch and experience all aspects of farm life.  Activities included hanging up laundry, looking at farm animals and learning about native Missouri River fish and turtles. Columbia NFWCO staff Colby Wrasse and Patty Herman displayed shovelnose sturgeon, blue catfish and three species of turtle for all participants to view and touch. Squeals and laughter erupted every time the catfish splashed the children. Kids and parents alike were amazed by the sturgeon’s “dinosaur” like appearance, but the smooth soft shell turtles stole the show. Some children were at first hesitant to touch the turtles or fish, but once they overcame their initial fears they were enchanted by the bizarre creatures. Many children came back time and time again to see their slimy new friends.  The event was a great opportunity for us to educate the community about some of the native animals found in their own “backyard.” With picture perfect spring weather, five hundred families attended this year’s Down on the Farm event. 

Like so many others, Linda Romine, organizer of Down on the Farm, believes that children have become disconnected from the natural world.  This event is yet another small step towards reconnecting children with nature, and we were glad to take part. Cooperative participation in local events also helps promote the Service’s commitment to maintaining America’s natural resources and supports the “Public Use Goal” of the “Fisheries Program Vision for the Future.”

Contact Info: Patricia Herman, 573-234-2132 x170, Patricia_Herman@fws.gov



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