Clay County Parks and Recreation is partnering with Clay County Public Libraries to bring more activities into community parks and recreation facilities. Part of the effort includes the “Explore Animals” series.
“Explore Animals at the Parks” spotlights native animals that are found in Clay County, Parks Naturalist Liza McCain said.
“I bring items out from our Pawpaw Nature Center that are representative of the featured animal. Park visitors can get up close and hands-on to learn about special characteristics, the animal’s habitat and what they can do to help support local wildlife,” she said.
Clay Libraries also send representatives to each event to read a story that compliments the featured animal. After reading the book, children create a craft that they get to take home with them, McCain said.
There are no age restrictions for the series and parents are encouraged to join, McCain said.
“The stories appeal to younger kids, but there is something for everyone,” she said. “As a Parks Naturalist, I welcome anyone to stop by and chat about Florida ecology and wildlife.”
Upcoming “Explore Animals” events are Saturday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to noon at Moccasin Slough Park, 4393 Raggedy Point Road in Fleming Island, to learn about owls.
On Saturday, Jan. 14, children will be learning about birds from 11 a.m. to noon at Moody Avenue Park, 3510 Moody Avenue in Orange Park. Guests are encouraged to attend, free of cost.
The Jan. 14 event will feature general knowledge about birds but will also include bird-watching tips for beginners and children. Binoculars will be on hand for kids to test out, and following this event, in February residents can participate in the “Great Backyard Bird Count,” McCain said.
The Great Backyard Bird Count It is a four-day international event beginning on Feb. 17th that helps researchers create a real-time snapshot of bird populations, she explained.
“All they have to do is observe birds in their yard or at a feeder for a minimum of 15 minutes and log their sightings on birdcount.org.”
To get more information on upcoming Clay County Parks and Recreation events, visit LetsPlayClay.com to view the events calendar and links to social media pages.