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KEEN Connects: Science in the Park programs starting soon

School’s out for summer, and if you are looking for something for your children to do, Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) just might have the answer. This year KEEN has three programs aimed toward Kittitas County youth; two programs for Summer Science in the Parks, and Pond to Pines Nature Outdoor Day Camp.

Science in the Parks has two programs this year. The first program is being done in partnership with the Ellensburg Department of Parks and Recreation and FISH. This program is for participants from kindergarten through high school. The program is offered three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday, at three different city parks starting June 18 and running through August 28.

* Tuesdays from 1 to 2 p.m. at Mountain View Park after FISH’s Picnic in the Park Program

* Wednesdays. from 12 to 1 p.m. at Kiwanis Park after FISH’s Picnic in the Park Program

* Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at West Ellensburg Park after FISH’s Picnic in the Park Program

The second Science in the Park Program is an evening program offering something for the whole family in both English and Spanish. This program is being offered five days a week Sunday through Friday, at five different locations around Ellensburg.

* Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. at Carey Lake located in Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park

* Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mountain View Park

* Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Kiwanis Park

* Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at West Ellensburg Park

* Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at North Alder Park

* Fridays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Park

Finally, KEEN is excited again to offer the Pond to Pines Nature Day Camp this year. This program is geared for kids from kindergarten through ninth grade. Summer Camp runs weekly from June 17 through July 26 with a break over the week of the Fourth of July holiday. Each of the five weeks of camp has a different theme.

Week 1: June 17 — Survivor Kid

Learn skills to survive in the wilderness. Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Explore the woods around camp to find food, pitch an emergency shelter, learn how to start a fire, and multiple ways to get clean drinking water. Make an emergency fishing kit and try your luck out on the pond. Discover how to navigate by the stars during the optional overnight. Test your skills during the Survival Kid Challenge.

Week 2: June 24 — Junior Ranger

Become one with nature. Explore, Learn, and Protect. Celebrate the beautiful surroundings of Helen McCabe Park by discovering its trails, boating on the pond, and seeking out wildlife. Learn to identify edible and poisonous plants, find what kind of fish live in the pond, and even earn your Washington State Parks Junior Ranger badge.

Week 3: July 8 — Dirty Jobs

Science can be messy and fun. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Our natural world calls upon lots of different people to help our planet stay strong. Meet Washington state’s biologists, ecologists, engineers, trail crews and fire fighters. Whether they’re catching fish, building hiking trails, or planting forests, they’re ready help you get dirty in nature. Enjoy traditional camp activities too.

Week 4: July 15 — Puzzle Park

Solve the mysteries of Helen McCabe Park. Unlock all the mysteries of Helen McCabe Park. Find a geo-cache using a GPS and even create and hide your own for future campers to find. Learn about nature’s ways of camouflaging and the park’s stealthy critters. Decode fingerprints, extract DNA, solve exciting riddles, and work with your fellow campers to solve the Wild Helen Outdoor Escape Room.

Week 5: July 22 — Outsider Art

Fun art outdoors — make your own paint, crafts and other fun activities in nature. Learn about all forms of art found in the great outdoors. Create pieces of art inspired by nature, learn songs about the outdoors, and make a musical instrument. Learn from experienced and professional artists and even practice outdoor photography. Finish your week by sharing your knowledge by creating a special piece of art or musical piece to share with the camp.

If you are interest in any of the mentioned programs, please visit our web page at and click on our Nature School Link.

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