Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Open House- Out of the Dark!

Who should attend? YOU! and bring your family and friends
Where: Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, 4140 24th St SE, Ruskin
When: Saturday, October 27, 2012; 9am-1pm
What: FREE family-friendly event, taking the BOO! out of some typical Halloween creatures
Registration not required but appreciated at www.campbayou.org .

9am- Activity tables open
9:30am- Going Buggy. Discover the wonders of the invertebrate world with Dr. George, our entomologist.
10am- Cockroach races. Pick one of Camp Bayou's resident Cockroach Racers or bring your own to see which can scurry the fastest! All cockroaches (large Palmetto bugs only) entering the race must be registered at the membership table by 9:45am. Check the Nature Notes blog at campbayou.blogspot.com for details.
10:30am- Snake Stroll. Look for Bettina and Xerxes, the albino corn snake, who will be out and about for a breath of fresh autumn air. Xerxes will be back in the Nature Center after the Species Walk for his weekly mouse if anyone wants to join him for lunch.
11am- Species Walk. Make an animal mask in the morning or wear your Halloween costume, then join others in a guided tour along the trails and through the old fishing cabin and meet Dan the Fisherman. All those who take part in the Species Walk will receive a small token for participating. Cabin restoration volunteer, Frank, will be on hand to answer questions about the work completed on these restored Giant's cabins and what more is in store for them in the future.
11:30am- National Food Day Buffet- For a small fee, several alternative treats to typical Halloween sweets will be available for a good-for-you snack,
Activity tables will stay open until 1pm.

Throughout the morning, there will be several activity tables, some with live critters to handle, such as millipedes and ant lions. Games such as the Spider Scavenger Hunt and crafts such as Animal Masks will provide lots of fun and educational things to do. Other non-profits, such as ConserveItForward.org and the Paleo Preserve Fossil Museum will be also be offering nature-based activities.

Registration is not required but encouraged. Door prizes will be drawn on the half hour from the list of all participants who register online at campbayou.org . Door prizes include Seminole pumpkin seedlings, goody bags and other surprises. The winning entries for the 2012 Camp Bayou Annual Photo Contest will be on display at the Fall Open House. Nature Nook Books will also be on hand with books for sale for children and adults. Sponsors include "24th Street Neighbors" and Sweetbay Supermarket in Ruskin. Enjoy what you're seeing? Help others to see by donating your unwanted eyeglasses in the Plant City Lion's Club collection box, located at the membership table.

These activities are part of a Get Outdoors Florida, Children and Nature, No Child Left Inside, Be Out There!-NWF, Let's Move Outside, National Food Day, Make a Difference Day,  inspired initiative.

Camp Bayou is neither a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the Center offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is managed by the newly created, non-profit Bayou Outdoor Learning & Discovery, Inc. (BOLD), in a public- private partnership with the non-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at www.campbayou.org or call 813-641-8545.

Dolly Cummings
Camp Bayou OLC

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