MUNCIE, Ind., June 1, 2023 – Red-tail Land Conservancy welcomes families and kids of all ages to their Habitat Hike for Young Explorers on Thursday, June 8 at Dutro-Ernst Woods from 10am-12pm for a morning of self-guided discovery and unstructured nature play.
Anytime from 10am-12pm, families can walk at their own pace to encounter naturalists along the 1-mile trail at Dutro-Ernst Woods, located between Muncie and Yorktown at 1701 S. Perdieu Rd. The naturalists will have interactive props introducing different animals and habitats commonly found in east central Indiana. After each visit with a naturalist, kids will receive a stamp on their Habitat Hike scavenger hunt. Those who visit every naturalist will earn a sticker.
The artist and developer behind Endangered Del Co, an illustrated knowledgebase of endangered species in Delaware County, will be there passing out custom wildlife coloring sheets.
Dutro-Ernst Woods also features nature play areas where unstructured outdoor play is encouraged. The American Psychological Association reports that play without a defined purpose and not organized by adults is essential to the physical, emotional, mental, and social development of children.
“Seeing kids leap from rock to rock as if the ground is lava or pretending a stick is a magical staff is heartwarming. The imagination games many adults used to play outdoors are alive in each generation,” said Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Communications and Outreach Manager. “As an urban nature preserve, Dutro-Ernst Woods is an oasis of nature play for families who don’t have the opportunity or means to travel to wilderness areas.”
The Habitat Hike for Young Explorers is free, no registration is required. Red-tail reminds visitors to dress for the weather, wear sunscreen, and bring water (there is no running water or restrooms at this nature preserve). Visitors are encouraged to carpool. More details, directions, and parking information can be found at www.ForTheLand.org/Events.
This event is part of Indiana’s Nature Play Days, a statewide initiative started by Indiana Children & Nature Network. From June 2-12, families can find events across the state designed to get kids outside and remind families that nature play is important and can happen close to home. A full listing of Nature Play Days events can be found at www.indianachildrenandnature.org.