Oregon Youth Outdoor Day

Fishing at Oregon Youth Outdoor Day

Fishing at Oregon Youth Outdoor Day

Nothing warms my heart more than when I have the opportunity to watch a child’s smile grow as they discover the great outdoors. This past weekend, I had that opportunity when I attended the 11th Annual Oregon Youth Outdoor Day at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area with my family, together with the families of 750 other children.

For $5.00 a person, participants were allowed to wander from station to station and learn about a variety of outdoor activities, including:  shooting sporting clays, archery, rock wall climbing, predator calling, waterfowl calling, wood duck box construction, birdhouse and bird feeder construction, fishing, casting, GPS use, duck decoy paining, elk calling, laser BB shooting, wilderness survival, dog training, fly tying and fly casting, amongst many other outdoor activities.

The event is a great place to meet new friends with common interests.

The event is a great place to meet new friends with common interests.

Although the event is geared toward first-timers, it was a the perfect refresher for the experienced outdoors kid, as well.

Registration provides a day full of fun for each youth, a backpack to carry all their gear, a t-shirt, and lunch. In all my years of outdoors education, I have yet to find another event that offers so much bang for the buck.  ($5.00 also bought lunch for mom and dad, too).

I want to send a special thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors, and contributors who made this event possible, including:

"Weet Weet" and "Quack Quack".  Participants learn the different types of duck calls.

“Weet Weet” and “Quack Quack”. Participants learn the different types of duck calls.

Without the collaborative efforts of these organizations, the future of our hunting and fishing sports would be in jeopardy.  It is imperative that we continue to work together to expose children to the great outdoors.

Our family has already set the goal of bringing someone new to the event next year, someone who has never experienced what it is like to catch a fish, shoot a gun, or launch an arrow at a target.

Who do you have in your life who should be introduced to the outdoors?  Have you taken the time to do so?  Next time you head out to your favorite lake to cast a line, or up to the mountain to scout, take a first-timer with you and open their eyes to a whole new world!

Each child went home with a custom painted duck decoy, compliments of Ducks Unlimited.

Each child went home with a custom painted duck decoy, compliments of Ducks Unlimited.

Participants receive hands on fly casting instruction.

Participants receive hands on fly casting instruction.

Bluegills and Bullfrogs

Taking advantage of blue sky between rain storms, my husband, son and I headed out for a few hours of fishing this afternoon.  My son has repeatedly told me that, “Nothing is more fun than fishing together with family.”  I could not agree more.

Today we were in for a surprise when we reached our favorite bluegill pond; the bullfrogs were out in force!   As I approached the water for my first cast I was startled by a large frog at my feet that had yet to retreat into the water. I have to admit that I jumped a bit from his loud croak and almost fell face first into the pond.  That is not how I wanted to start the day!  Fortunately, I caught myself and was saved of any humiliation.

Bullfrog… Croak!

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I Eat, Therefore I Am

Crawfish anyone?

They say, “You are what you eat.”

Many years ago, while in high school, I reached the age of enlightenment and began to think about the food I was putting in my mouth.  Where did it come from?  How was it harvested? What was in the food I consumed?  Up until that point, the answers were simple.  Food came from the store.

I will never forget the day in Health Studies when we discussed the chemicals and hormones injected into beef.  A friend told me how veal was produced.  I studied how chicken is “plumped up” with water.  I was disgusted and swore I would never eat meat again.  These were the days before “free range” and “organic” were part of everyday American vocabulary.

At that moment I became one of the thousands of carefree young adults joining on the vegetarian bandwagon… with no idea where I was headed. Continue reading