Hiking and Seeking Your Way to Fun and Nature

Proud Hike and Seekers
Proud Hike and Seekers

Do you need a breath a fresh air? Would 250 smiles make your day? Do you want to break the shackles that tie our children for 7 hours a day to electronic devices and TV ?

That is exactly the dose of medicine that I received by joining over 250 children and parents at the National Wildlife Federation’s first ever Hike & Seek™ event in New Jersey on Saturday, October 15th. Hike & Seek is a cross between a nature hike and scavenger hunt aimed at bringing family and friends together in the great outdoors for fresh air and fun. Registration fees and fundraising supports NWF’s programs that connect children with nature and safeguard wildlife. NWF partnered with our terrific state affiliation, New Jersey Audubon, and held the event at their terrific Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary.

Not yet convinced? Watch this video. Jennifer Barnes, mother of two adorable children from New Brunswick, is NWF’s best spokesperson ever:

[youtube width=”550″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfOjSlRyBgg[/youtube]

The kids really loved the NWF “Map & Mission Guidebooks” that included a nature scavenger check list of critters and plants they may spot on their hike and seek adventure. The kids really were super motivated to check off “worms,” maple leaves, and evergreen trees.

This is what it is all about! Smiles and worms.
This is what it is all about! Smiles and worms.
Smiles & Snakes: Perfect Together
Smiles & snakes: Perfect together

My fun started when I found a small salamander that I got to show all the hikers. Some children love to have it walk in their hands, others like to touch it and a few were just excited to have seen it and check it off their list.

Along the trail, the “Stop & Study Stations” that NWF and NJ Audubon set up along the trail were a big hit. Kids and parents learned more about wildlife, plants and the great outdoors from volunteer naturalists. The kids got to collect stamps and stickers from each station.

At “Base Camp,” the kids were treated with Rizzo’s Wildlife Discovery who brought a great collection of snakes, turtles and other animals that the kids could touch and learn from.

Can't Go Wrong with Ranger Rick!
Can't go wrong with Ranger Rick!
Salmanders Are Fascinating
Salamanders are fascinating

More photos of this spectacular event can be found here!

We greatly appreciate the support of our national presenting sponsor: Johnson & Johnson who provided much needed product samples including Band-Aids and Johnson’s Natural products among others.  As well as our national sponsor Keen, providing lots of fun prizes to raffle as part of the Recess pledge, and local sponsor REI entertained the kids with their outdoor education specialists.  Also, several companies donated refreshments for the participants including Starbucks, Kings and Whole Foods.

Live in Washington D.C. area? It’s not too late to register for the Hike & Seek event on Oct. 22 in Seneca Creek State Park.

Photos by Curtis Fisher