Monday, October 2, 2017

Explore Indiana with the DNR Patch Programs!

            Hey folks! Do you live in Indiana and enjoy visiting state parks and the outdoors in general? (Even if you don't live in Indiana, stick with me or scroll to the end of this post and I may be able to point you in the right direction!) Did you know the DNR offers patch programs to encourage children and adults alike to explore outdoors more often?
            I don't remember how exactly I came across these (probably one of the many “rabbit holes” I tend to fall down while searching on the internet), but I found them about a year or so ago. Although technically they have no age limits, I thought I would wait until Myka was older to give them a go, and only if she seemed interested in participating in them. I loved the idea behind them and the activities they include, so I was really hoping she would be when the time came!
            Well, the time finally came recently. Even when we're not spending time at state parks or camping at them, we spend a lot of time outdoors at home too. Myka is not old enough for Girl Scouts yet, but I really wanted to get her involved in something. (Plus I'm cheap and I like free. ;) ) I felt like it would do her some good to work toward a goal. So, we got started with the Discover patch program several weeks ago!

Some of the activities we completed: Found a pretty leaf, went to an owl & raptor program at Paynetown SRA, and picked up trash at McCormick's Creek!

            The Discover program is geared towards 5 year olds and up and, I believe, a good starting point for kids as I felt it was fairly easy to obtain. In this program, you have to attend 3 interpretive programs, volunteer for at least 1 hour, and complete 3 out of the 11 activities listed in the brochure. To give you an idea of what those include, Myka chose to lead a hike, draw a picture of the night sky, and find a pretty leaf (we took a picture and showed it to the interpreter at a later date). Easy peasy stuff, even for kids.

            After you complete each activity, you take your brochure (and any proof of an activity you may need) to an interpreter/naturalist and have him/her sign off on it. Once you've completed all your requirements, give your brochure to the interpreter/naturalist and receive your patch AND a certificate!
            Myka was actually really into this, so we breezed through it quickly. Admittedly, it does help that our nearest state park is only 12 minutes from our home and the other two closest ones are within an hour drive. If you have little nature lovers, but aren't in scouts (or even if you are; it would be a great scout opportunity too!), I highly recommend this program!

            Since she was so into the first program, we are getting ready to dive into the Challenge patch program, which is a bit trickier. This time we will need to attend 4 interpretive programs, volunteer at a park or reservoir for at least 3 hours, choose 5 outdoor skills (such as cooking a meal over a campfire), and pick 10 outdoor experiences listed in the brochure (such as swim in a lake, climb a fire tower, etc.). To be honest, other than the volunteering, we've probably done well over half of the requirements necessary for this patch this summer, so I wish I would have picked this brochure up back in May! But, it will be fun to do them again as well.
            If you're looking for something a little more grown up or even more challenging, there is also the Explore program. Instead of a patch, you are actually able to purchase a site specific pin (for the low cost of $2) after you complete the requirements for an individual park. For this program, you are required to attend a program, volunteer, report on your volunteer work with an interpreter, hike, and complete a site specific activity assigned by an interpreter. But remember...These are the requirements for EACH PARK! There are 33 parks and reservoirs that participate in this in Indiana!

            If you would like to learn more about the Indiana Patch Programs, click HERE. If you live elsewhere, I came across this blog post that will link you to your state's own program! (Each state is different and some don't have any programs at all.) Happy exploring!

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

1 comment:

  1. This is so such a great outdoor place. Don't worry, I'm cheap and I like free as I consider it to be very cheerful too! Looks like your girl did a swell job on her mission. Good for her!

    Thank you so much for linking up with us. My apology for the delay in commenting. I hope you can forgive me! xx