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Outdoor programs designed for homeschool, preschool students

GERING, Neb. – Homeschool and preschool students will learn about the great outdoors with a nine-month series of free educational programs getting underway at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center this month.

The programs will tackle a new topic each month with age-appropriate material. Programs for homeschool students will be the second Tuesday of each month and a program of a similar topic will be presented for preschool students the following day.

Amanda Filipi, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist, said the programs provide an opportunity for educators to enhance their students’ learning with topics relative to the seasons in a state-of-the-art facility.

“Our programs for homeschool students have been popular in the past, so we decided to add some for preschool students, too,” she said. “We’re looking forward to teaching the kids about many of the exciting plants, animals, insects and trees that can be found nearby.”

Filipi said the programs occur regardless of the weather with at least a portion of the instruction occurring outdoors. She said students and instructors will want to dress for the weather and possible hiking.

The nature center is located at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area 9 miles south of Gering along Nebraska Highway 71. The programs are free but a Nebraska park entry permit is required for vehicles. More information about the programs is available by contacting the nature center at 308-436-3777.

Homeschool Programs 2017-2018 (Each program starts at 10 a.m.)

Feathered Friends, Sept. 12; Going Batty, Oct. 17; Terrific Turkeys, Nov. 14; Pristine Pines, Dec. 12; Winter Wonders, Jan. 9; Outstanding Owls, Feb. 13; Panhandle Pollinator, March 13; Weather Watchers, April 10; Flower Power, May 8.

Preschool Programs 2017-2018 (Each program starts at 10 a.m.)

Feathered Friends, Sept. 13; Going Batty, Oct. 18; Terrific Turkeys, Nov. 8; Pristine Pines, Dec. 13; Winter Wonders, Jan. 10; Outstanding Owls, Feb. 14; Buggy Business, March 14; Weather Watchers, April 11; Flower Power, May 9.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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