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Saturdays at the Park

What do a biology professor, hula hoops, and a one-eyed hawk named Jack all have in common? Nothing, really— except that they have each been featured during the first three Saturdays at the Park programs in 100 Acres this season. I see that quizzical look on your face, and I hear your question… Why, yes, I do have super powers to see and hear through the internet… Oh, that question… “What in the world is going on at the IMA?”

I’m glad you asked.

Mark Booth and Jack. Take Flight! Wildlife Education.

Saturdays at the Park were born out of a desire to encourage people, young and old, to explore 100 Acres in ways that they may not have previously considered. We call them “interactive park adventure(s)”—not only because our activities try to engage visitors’ senses, but also because this fabulous space inspires interaction all on its own.

As with any new program, it can take time for word to spread about how AWESOME it is. So far, there have been anywhere from a dozen to over 40 people show up at an event. On June 2nd, we “bugged out” as Janet Creamer, Indy Parks Assistant Manager and Naturalist for Southeastway Park, shared interesting characteristics of some of our smallest and noisiest neighbors. We were able to see dragonfly nymphs and damselflies up close. We listened to the subtle variations in “songs” of various crickets, grasshoppers and katydids. But that’s not all…we were also joined by percussionist and found object musician, Mr. Lawrence Clark, III who led us in creating an ensemble of bug-inspired sounds and rhythms.

Kids’ need for these and other types of nature experiences hit home for me the very next day, when my seven year old son, who did not attend the program, illustrated a whole new meaning to the phrase, “…wouldn’t hurt a fly.”  As he and I explored the park on our weekly Art in the Park mission, he expressed genuine fear of a fly that occupied the same yellow bench where I asked him to sit for a picture. Continuing on, another fear seized his mind as we walked the narrow path through the older forest on the west side of the lake. “Daddy, is this poison ivy?” was then uttered every fifteen yards. While identifying poison ivy may not sound like the start to a fun program, it might nonetheless help young ones enjoy seeing the forest in spite of the trees.

If less woodsy is more your speed, join us on July 14th. Lace up your sneakers and loosen up your imagination as we invent games at Free Basket.

Whether you visit with kids or a friend, we hope that each event will inspire you to see art and/or nature with a rekindled sense of wonder. Hope to see you there!

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Education, Public Programs

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