Mo River Expo aims to get kids interested in the great outdoors
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
PONCA, Neb. (KTIV) -
This weekend, outdoor enthusiasts will head to Ponca, Nebraska for the annual Missouri River Expo.
Friday, children got a chance to try some of the activities a day ahead of everyone else.
Organizers hope they bring mom and dad back this weekend, and if the kids have anything to say about it, it looks like they will.
Whether reeling in a good time at the fishing hole, or taking aim at a blow-up bear, Friday's field trip to Ponca State Park was a real adventure in the great outdoors for area fifth graders.
"We shot and then we got to find the animal prints," said Signe West, a students at Vermillion Elementary School.
"We also go to make a paper frog and they told us about them," said Triniti Dembica Madison Elementary student.
"It's important that youth know that there are a lot of activities out of doors that are really fulfilling," explained Missouri River Expo Coordinator Amy Kuscra.
They came away from their trek with fun facts.
"In order for Cottonwood trees to grow they have to have wet sand," said Aden Gomez, who came with his class from Sioux City' Sunnyside Elementary.
Trading in their fishing poles for tomahawks, many kids tried activities like this for the very first time.
"You grab the tomahawk, you put in behind your head, and then you throw it at the target," Alaina Ainsworth, a Madison Elementary student demonstrated.
At the Missouri River Expo, kids literally got up close and personal with Mother Nature.
Lessons on species of fish found in the Mighty Mo were hands on. Greg Hartel of Fisheries Education out of Lincoln, Nebraska let the students touch a catfish.
What we're basically hoping for is that we can teach kids how to go fishing so that they will go fishing," said Hartel,.
The kids found fun on the water as well, kayaking their way across the lake. Other activities encouraged kids to get crafty.
"We made mud balls and bird feeders," said Ellie Risdal, another Sunnyside student.
With Hollywood's help (Hunger Games, Brave), experts say more people are hooked on archery than ever before. While trick archers showed off their skills, some students picked up the bow and arrow themselves.
The aim was to expose kids to the fun the Missouri River has to offer.
"We're hoping to plant a seed of real interest in these outdoor pursuits," said Kuscra.
The Missouri River Expo certainly hit that target with these students.
The Expo runs from 9 to 5 Saturday and Sunday at Ponca State Park.
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