Getting children to enjoy being outside is the main goal of Refuge Rocks, the newly renamed monthly children’s event hosted by Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. Turtles were the subject of the May presentation Saturday at the park.
“So many people do not know about nature,” Hagerman volunteer Holly Neal said. “This program gives children the opportunity to learn about the outdoors.”
The children were split into two groups: 4-7 year olds and 8-12 year olds. Then they were given a presentation and a quiz about the turtle presentation that they saw. They also got to do two crafts projects about the turtles.
“Turtles are a part of nature,” Neal said. “As an adult, I learned a lot.”
Before preparing for the presentation, Neal said she did not understand the difference between a turtle and a tortoise.
“They are a part of nature,” Neal said. “It is a natural instinct for us to try to help turtles. We need to learn the right way to do that.”
She also said that it is nice to see entire families come to the refuge.
“We miss a lot of people on Saturdays because of sports like soccer and t-ball,” Neal said. “But even with the weather, we had a good turnout.”
Tabitha McCrory said that her son, Jax, 6, spends a lot of time in the city, but he loves to come to Hagerman to enjoy nature.
“He just loves the outdoors,” she said. “My husband has exposed him to a lot of exploring and nature things. This is just another way to open his eyes to what is around him.”
McCrory said that her son’s favorite activity at Hagerman is hiking.
“Hagerman is constantly changing,” she said. “We drove through here on our way home, it was dry. Then last night it rained. So my son has seen how weather affects nature. We saw coyotes. When it flooded last year, we saw tadpoles. This is a place where he can have a hands-on experience because that is a big way that children grow.”
Patty Wilson brought her grandson Garrett Goodwin, 4, to learn more about his favorite animal.
“Turtles are his favorite,” she said.
Wilson said that creation is beautiful and she wants to continue to teach her grandchildren about creation.
“We love Hagerman,” she said. “He can learn a lot of good things, especially about science.”