Park districts open world of knowledge

To the Editor,

Our Miami County Park District is awesome on all levels!

I have been an elementary teacher in Piqua City Schools for 20 years. The park district has supported my classroom and many other classrooms with a multitude of ideas and learning experiences that teach kids about nature, animals, habitats, rocks and all sorts of nature related topics. We have visited the beautiful Charleston Falls Preserve where the naturalists are all smiling, happy, and ready to dive into a “teachable moment” outside in nature!

One program that is near and dear to my heart is the Quest program. This program connects literacy with outdoor activities. I enjoy watching students connect with the book, take the main idea of the book outside to complete a fun activity, and then be able to tuck this away as a “memorable experience!” Kids need “experiences” in life in order to grow! They need to explore, create, build things, and know that it’s okay to get dirty!

On a personal note, I remember the first time I took my own two daughters to Charleston Falls. You would have thought it was Christmas! We climbed, took in the beautiful water fall, explored the cave, walked everywhere we possibly could, and enjoyed a lunch in the middle of the woods.

Garbry Big Woods is another one of my favorite parks because you can fish, walk, run, use a shelter, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. I have many special memories of going to Garbry Big Woods as a child, but my favorite memory was when my principal Mrs. Shaffer took us there in the sixth grade. She only took my class, because there were a few behavior issues with the students in my room. Her intentions were to help us see beyond the walls of our school building, into a place of calm. We walked through the woods and she told us about every tree and flower she possibly could. She also pointed out the name of every bird and/or animal that was near as well. This experience has left a lasting impression on me, and I will forever desire to leave that same impression on the students that I have the privilege of teaching.

There are so many wonderful activities offered to the public through the Miami County Park District, that it’s almost hard to decide which one to choose! It is easy to see why I will be voting “For” the upcoming Miami County Park District levy.

— Jennifer Everett