Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Nature Encounter

For the last 2 weeks, Jake has had the unique opportunity to participate in a special program at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve called Summer Nature Encounter. It is in essence a day camp in which the participants get to explore science and nature with hands on experiments, games, crafts and hikes. If he continues with the summer program in future years it will segue into training to become a junior docent.

The program concluded on Friday with a family day, in which Jake got to present and show everyone what he had been working on and learning at the program. It was a real joy to see Jake so excited and engaged. The theme of this year's program was rock and water cycles and each group made their own streambed.

Here is Jake reciting his portion of his group's presentation:


And watching the effects of water on his streambed for the first time:


We got to eat a picnic style lunch with all the other participants and their families and then they handed out awards and certificates of participation. It was a very nice afternoon:


We also got to encounter some nature of our own as a family of bighorn sheep made it's way down the ridge. I have blogged many pictures and details from our frequent visits to this preserve and in fact, it is where we took our annual holiday photos last year:


And Jake showed us a neat little area with bird feeders, ideal for watching all the cool and unusual birds that make their way through the preserve. He had told me on numerous occasions over the last 2 weeks that watching the birds was his favorite part of each day.


Jake has already expressed an interest in continuing with the program next year and I couldn't be happier. Left to his own devices, Jake would probably be perfectly satisfied to sit in front of the TV playing video games all summer but with a little nudging, he can quickly immerse himself in more productive activities.

Because I am working summer school this year, I had to rely on friends and acquaintances to get Jake to and from this program for the past 2 weeks. It isn't easy for me to ask for and accept help but I have been quite humbled with the outpouring of generosity. Sometimes it is worth the effort to step outside your comfort zone and it was definitely worth it to see Jake enjoy this program so much.

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