published: 3 September 2014
by: Robin Tarnowetzki
Learning about the importance of conservation and the wetlands was mixed in with various outdoor activities during Greenwing Day. The event was put on by the Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited outside Humboldt (Saskatchewan, Canada) on Aug. 27.
“It’s to get the youth of today involved in conservation and outdoor activities,” said Dave Atamanchuk, a conservation specialist with Ducks Unlimited. “Rural and city kids don’t get to experience horseback riding or shooting … everyone’s so busy these days that they miss out on these things.”
Activities included horseback riding, shooting pellet guns or .22s, making a bird feeder, looking at insects, and airboat rides, which Atamanchuk said are always a big hit. In the past, they’ve had geocaching, archery, a first-aid course, and quad riding. Atamanchuk says they like to switch up the activities, but the airboat rides are a constant. He likes that kids get to do things they wouldn’t otherwise – such as shooting a gun.
Ducks Unlimited put on Greenwing Day for about five or six years and then took a five-year break due to a lack of volunteers. Last year they teamed up with the Humboldt Wildlife Federation to bring the day back and participation was full for both last year and this year.
This year, Greenwing Day had teenage volunteers help out because they attended the first iteration of Greenwing Day and wanted to help out again. The day was for kids ages six to 12 years old and volunteers were 13 and up.
“They get to experience the day again, but they get to take leaderships roles; so when you see them coming back and appreciating what we had done, it’s an amazing feeling,” Atamanchuk said.
While the activities are the main draw of Greenwing Day, above all, Atamanchuk hopes to impress on the kids how important wetlands conservation is to the world.
“I hope they gain an appreciation for the outdoors,” he said. “If you go down to a marsh, seeing the bugs and the geese, if you take the time to listen, it’s amazing. I really want the kids to get the experience in the outdoors that will carry you forward.”
Atamanchuk was very happy with the how the day went and all feedback has been positive.
“Everyone thinks it went excellent,” he said. “We were really happy with the day. When you see that many smiles on that many faces, you feel pretty good.”