Gee it’s great to have a place right in our own backyard that is still ‘half wild’ to go to and observe nature, picnic, mushroom hunt, hike, bird watch, and fish. I’m talking about Fox Island, 7324 Yohne Road just off of Smith Road. I’ve gotten a lot of PR material from Fox Island recently and I’ll pass it on to you.



We won’t let a few pointy-nosed flies keep us from serving you. Fox Island was closed for a weekend at the beginning of the month of August but has been open as usual since then. West Nile-infected mosquitoes have been found all around the country, so the risk is as great (or as small) in your back yard as it is here. Come out and enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing, and nature observation – just remember your insect repellent! Most of the mosquitoes will be hanging out in the woods, so picnic, swimming, and fishing areas will be relatively free of them. Soon our gift shop will have some of the best repellents available for sale. Fox Island, 7324 Yohne Road, is open from 9am to 8pm every day except Monday. We look forward to serving you at Fox Island and our other fine county parks – Metea, Payton, and Cook’s Landing. Visit our Parks Department page on the county website www.allencounty.us to learn more.



Retirees, students, stay-at-home-parents, and anyone else with free time on weekdays: the Bird Observation Building at Fox Island County Park, 7324 Yohne Road. currently has openings for volunteer positions. This is an opportunity to observe wildlife in a quiet setting, catch up on reading or studying, learn about the local ecosystem, and interact with nature enthusiasts. Parents with children are welcome. Schedules are flexible. Please contact Jodi Leamon, Volunteer Coordinator at 260-449-3180.



Are you interested in the outdoors; do you like children; do you care about environmental education? Then you should attend one of Fox Island County Park’s Trail Guide Training’s. The next session is Saturday, September 14, 2002 from 9am to 5pm. This is a fun day of learning seasonally appropriate information about the plants, animals, and natural systems of the park. We will have guest speakers give their expertise in different areas including prairie plants, reptiles and amphibians, and general information about the park. Attend just for your own information or in preparation to lead an educational hike of your own. This is also a great opportunity to voice your ideas on what types of programs you would like to see offered by County Parks. Coffee, juice, and doughnuts provided. Wear clothes to go outdoors and bring a lunch. For more information, please contact the park at 260-449-3180.



Attention Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Scout leaders, this would be a good start on earning your Wilderness Survival Merit Badge. I talked to Chris Schult and he agreed to gear his presentation to anyone working on that badge. He said, “Here’s a good chance to learn the 10 essentials to outdoor survival. Join me, Naturalist Christian Schult at the Fox Island Nature Center on how to survive in the wild. You will learn skills such as making emergency shelters, starting fires from flint, finding food with snares and other outdoor skills needed to survive in the wild. We will start in the nature center to discuss the essentials and then make our way outside with some hands-on-activities. If you have any questions, contact me at 449-3246 or e-mail me at chris@myschult.com. OUTDOOR SURVIVAL SKILLS will be held Saturday, September 7, 2002 from 10am to 12noon. The cost for the two-hour course is $3 per person and reservations are required. The gate fee will be waived if you take this course. For more information or to make reservations call the park at 449-3180.



Plan a hayride for your organization or family at Fox Island. The event is specialized for your group and is a perfect way to spend a fall evening. Not only do you get a hayride but you get a bonfire by the lake. The cost is $5 per person with a minimum of 20 people. Call Angie at Fox Island at 449-3184. Call soon, because dates fill up quickly.



A night of lunacy! Join moonstruck naturalist Bob Dispenza at Fox Island County Park on Friday, September 20, 2002 as we discover the secrets of the moon – history, facts, myth, and effects. Included will be telescopic moon observation (weather permitting), a short night hike, moon music, a real space suit like those that went to the moon, demonstrations of cratering and moon phases, and moon-related treats. It’s all you ever wanted to know about the moon. Meet at 8pm at the Fox Island County Park Nature Center. Call 449-3180 to register. Program fee is $3 per person. Don’t forget your insect repellent and moon glasses.

There, you are up to date on what is going on in your own back yard wilderness. Get back to nature; visit Fox Island. Until next time remember: If we don’t educate our next generation about nature, we won’t have a nature for the following generation to enjoy. I hope to see you out there in the woods or on the river.

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