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Nearer To Nature - Good Natured Fun For Kids!

Find the latest Nearest to Nature program here

Nearer To Nature (N2N) provide fun, educational nature based activities for families in Perth.  The program, is run by The Department of Environment and Conservation and aims to provide families in Perth with unique and enjoyable activities that help participants discover the natural areas around Perth.

Programs are run throughout the year, in various locations across Perth - and there are plenty of programs run in the school holidays, making the Nearer To Nature program a an ideal activity for kids to do in the school holidays. Families can join the Discovery Club for only $15 per year and enjoy 15% off N2N programs and other benefits.

We recently attended our first Nearer To Nature Program at Trigg Beach (located approx 14km north of Perth).  The program was designed for 7-12year olds and was titled "Intertidal Investigators"

When we arrived it was easy to see where we were to meet with the N2N trailer in the carpark and the sign up in front of the two gazebos that were set up on the beach.

We walked straight down to the beach and said hello to the program organisers. We sat under the shade waiting for the program to start.  Thank goodness they had the shade erected, it was an absolute stinker on this day, 39 deg and extremely humid - but this didn't deter the kids from having an awesome time.

Zar was the N2N teacher for today's Intertidal Investigators program - and to start with she sat all the kids down and talked about the Intertidal zone and what type of creatures they might see there.  

The talk was very interactive and informative with lots of laminated pictorial information pages to help the kids learn all about this area of nature.  There was also some time spend talking about the dangers of this area in particular how to identify a blue ringed octopus and what to do in the event someone is stung by one.  A safety talk was also given about the dangers of the rocks and reef and the importance of sun protection when at the beach.

It was getting pretty hot by now so the kids were keen to get their feet wet in the Intertidal Zone (just in case you don't know this is the area between the low and high tide).  Armed with some new found knowledge about the creatures that live in this area and a set of laminated pictures the hunt to find these Intertidal creatures was on.

But these programs are not just all about learning, they are about having some fun too! So after finding a few of the creatures from the pictures, the kids got to play a fun game on the beach.  

It was a boiling hot 39 deg and the sun was fully shining by now - but this did not deter them.  They loved this nature version of dodgeball.  Most of the kids had to run from one end of the markers pretending to be snails protecting themselves from the waves by using their hands like a shell over their heads to deflect the ball - with the ball being the waves, if you did not deflect and go hit then they were out and had the chance to help be the "waves" and throw the ball to get the others out.

After the game it was time for something to drink and a break from the sun.  The kids gathered under the shade and Zar asked some questions about what the kids had seen, and talked about the different features of creatures within the different zones located within the Intertidal Zone.

Just before the session finished, there was time for one last game.  For this game kids had to press their fingers against the holes in the cylinder firmly and try and stay "stuck" to the cylinder while buckets of water were poured in to simulate waves.  Unfortunately some of the waves got tipped all over the kids - what a shame! 

After the game was finished it was all a bit to much to resist - and most the kids jumped in for a swim before heading home.

All in all, my son absolutely loved the program! It was great to see the excitement on his face as he marched towards the rocks and reef to find the creatures in the pictures.  He loved the games and talked about what he had learned afterwards - and can't wait to go the next one in at The Perth Hills Centre next week.

The program was well run with a handful of N2N program co-ordinators and volunteers assisting with the activity to ensure that the kids were well supervised and involved in the activity.  There was also a priorty placed on the kids safety and well being and a full first aid kit on standby.

If you would like to find out what programs are on this season go to the N2N website and click on the pdf with the calendar of activities.   You'll just need to call the N2N Program Coordinators to make your booking.  Become a Discovery Club Member so you can find out about the programs coming up earlier and book your family onto the ones that are of the most interest.

What to bring: most of the programs are held outdoors, hats, sunscreen and sun protective clothing are essential | Depending on the program appropriate footwear is required also ie reef sandals are best for beach activities and closed in shoes are most likely best for bush type activities | Bring plenty of water - no matter what time of year these activities usually make thirsty work

Where: the programs are held all over Perth at the Perth Hills Centre, Perth Observatory, Woodman Point, Yanchep National Park, Canning River Eco Centre and many more locations - so there is no excuse not to get involved there is no doubt something on near you! 

Find the latest Nearest to Nature program here

Posted by Lauren, 12th January 2012

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