It seems like every week I get to learn something new about my own county, and this last weekend was no exception. The Monterey Bay Youth Outdoors Day is a completely free event open to the public, with a focus on getting children interested in the numerous outdoor activities that are right here in our back yards. This internship is, in part, about getting Latinos interested in the outdoors and in the sciences, so I was there to represent Elkhorn Slough.
Before all the madness, began I had the opportunity to check out the other booths. I began my exploration by dropping by the Monterey County Health Department booth, where the employees where talking to families about vector control, specifically mosquitos and ticks. After viewing the vector samples I inquisitively asked about the larvae and grasshopper barbecue snacks, and the employee gladly gave me some to taste. The grasshopper was crunchy and somewhat sour with a hint of barbecue flavor, while the larvae were crispy. It was then when I earned my “I ate a bug today” sticker. Insect enthusiast and former EFTA intern Karina was not amused with the new sticker that I proudly displayed.
I continued to walk by a kiddie pool that was set up to provide mini kayaking lessons and then strolled towards the rock climbing wall across the field, where Karina was attempting to climb. Later this booth would have a long line of children and parents waiting to give it a try. Next to the climbing wall were some young, yet experienced equestrians who were warming up for the show, while others were preparing their pamphlets and rehearsing their spiels regarding information about horseback-riding lessons.
I headed off to the other booths, which had rock climbing, airsoft guns with a small range, surfing, fishing, wildlife furs and skeletons. Elkhorn Slough had a booth with a couple of games. Initially I thought that we would be ignored for the more flashy booths, but I was very wrong.
In total there were 6 people representing the Slough, and most of the time we were overwhelmed by the number of people that stopped by our booth. While the Elkhorn Slough employees talked to the adults, Karina and I were in charge of entertaining the little ones. And while we didn’t have boats or guns, I realized that children don’t really care. As long as you have a fun interaction with them and let them express their curiosity they find anything incredibly interesting.