Learning about fuzzy furry friends

Carson Schubert l Writer

Evan Koneche paints at the beginning of the Fuzzy Furry Friends camp hosted by Lyon County Conservation Tuesday, June 26, at Lake Pahoja. (Photo/Carson Schubert)

Summer camps for youngsters are in full swing across the county. This past week, June 25-28, the Lyon County Conservation Board hosted several camps at Lake Pahoja Recreation Area, including “Fuzzy Furry Friends” Tuesday, June 26.  Five- and 6-year old campers brought their pets from home to show everyone and learned about furry mammals.

“This camp is all about furry mammals. So they learned four clues to figure out if it’s a mammal or not. The first one is whether they have fur or hair. If they have a back bone or an inner skeleton. If it gets milk from its mother and the last one is if it has four legs or limbs,” said Lyon County Naturalist Emily Ostrander, who led the camp.

The day started with the kids painting. Later in the day, they learned about the different types of scat left by animals. While Ostrander was reading a story, the kids looked at “Play-Doh” sculptures of the different scat left by animals. Campers were given “Tootsie-Rolls” to use to mold to create scat and made mammal snacks. “They made crackers with mud (peanut butter) and snow (cream cheese) and they put pretzels and raisins on it which are the animal’s track. So they make a bird track or a bear foot and so on and so forth,” said Ostrander.

Ostrander led the campers on a hike by the beach and surrounding areas at Lake Pahoja. “We looked for tracks on the beach, in the mud and looked for animal signs. We talked a lot about camouflage too,” Ostrander said.

The camp ended with the campers showing their pets brought by their parents. 

“We end the camp with an animal show-and-tell. They brought different animals from home and I have a snake, a salamander and some cockroaches. Then we ask them the four questions so they can learn if those animals are mammals or not,” said Ostrander. 

Ostrander also said this is one of the highlights of her job.

“It’s fun. We like this age. When it’s all said and done, I run 11 camps and over 200 kids come through. I do like (being around) kids. The kids are fun, many times I get to introduce them to new things they haven’t tried before which is pretty cool,” Ostrander said.

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