Oklahoma Education Programs Allows Kids To Explore The Outdoors

Friday, June 21st 2019, 10:11 pm
By: News On 6

You don't have to go far in our great state to get a taste of the outdoors. We found several programs aimed at getting kids excited to put down their electronics and enjoy the great outdoors.

School may be out, but for one group of teachers at the Education Center at Lake Arcadia, they're on target to learn something new.

"I just like how it takes concentration, dedication, focus," said T.J. Zimmerman, a parent from Jones.

It's these skills they will take back to their classroom.

"It gives them an opportunity to excel and have an identity in themselves and find something that they can be good at that's not a traditional sport," said Zimmerman.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation started the outdoor education program in 2004.

"The positive experience they get from shooting the bow and the interactions with the other students gives them a positive association with school, so 'now I want to go back to school because this is fun,'" said Jay Rouk, ODWC Archery in Schools Coordinator.

Through the program, 50 grants are given to schools each year. Once the teachers become certified, they receive all the equipment to start an outdoor education program for their students. The program also includes hunter education and fishing.

While the woods and lakes do give kids a lot of places to explore the great outdoors, we found that kids don't even have to leave the city to get an outdoor adventure.

"The whole idea is to help build outdoor culture in communities across America," said Mike Knopp with the OKC Boathouse Foundation.

Through a Thrive Outside Grant, Oklahoma City is doing that.

"We may not have the mountains or the ocean or a lot of natural assets that other places have, we've created a lot of it ourselves," said Knopp.

OKC is just one of four cities nationwide to receive the grant and the Boathouse Foundation is leading the charge. It will team up with city parks, schools and after-school programs to offer free field trips to experience sports like kayaking and rafting.

"For the youth of OKC, in their own backyard, they have more opportunities for outdoor adventure than about any place in America," Knopp said.

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