“Why did you decide to come today?”
That’s the question a reporter for the local newspaper posed to me as I watched Philip use a magnifying class to observe insects. And me. He apparently enjoyed seeing my pores enlarged.
To be honest, I’m a sucker for free events, especially ones that have giveaways. My main motivation for taking Philip to the annual Kids Outdoor Day held at the Ashland County Wildlife Conservation League Farm was the free fishing pole offered by the main event sponsor, Fin Feather and Fur. But that didn’t sound like a good answer.
I ended up rattling on about how important it is to learn about the natural resources in our community. By the time we bumped into the reporter, Philip and I were at the fourth of six stations, this one hosted by Ashland County Parks District volunteers. I had just rinsed Philip off after he had hunted for plastic insects in a plastic pool filled with sand and had redirected him to the display of actual insects. When she asked what Philip’s favorite activity was, I told her it was fishing.
While it’s true he loved splashing the bobber in the water and he did catch a trout, a glance at how engrossed he was at the moment made me doubt my answer. Honestly, there didn’t seem to be anything that Philip didn’t like during the event except a few sudden, loud noises.
We began at the duck station, where we watched wet dogs quivering with excitement in anticipation of retrieving fake waterfowl. Then, after thirty minutes of fishing, we watched more dog demonstrations as members of Pheasants Forever gave an overview of their sport. After the session on parks, it was Philip’s group’s turn to try out BB guns and air rifles. Since we were stuck at the end of the line and I wasn’t sure that Philip would like the noise, we slipped away to grab some food before ending our day with hands-on archery experience with the Ashland Bowmen Club.
Around two hundred volunteers and various business sponsors made the event possible. I thought it was well organized and a great experience for all the children. No one forced Philip to do anything he didn’t want and I was permitted to accompany him at every station. The best part (besides the free fishing pole)? After all that time outdoors, Philip fell asleep early and stayed asleep all night.
I’ll be marking my calendar for the first Saturday in June next year. I can’t wait to find out what Philip’s favorite activity is then.