Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 Get Outdoors Day!

Last Saturday (June 13th, 2009) just happened to be the First Annual National Get Outdoors Day.

Get Outdoors Day is "an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun across the nation. On June 13, 2009, participating organizations will offer sites for American families to sample both traditional and new types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors."

One of the sponsors, THE USDA FOREST SERVICE ,"has partnered with state, local and federal land management agencies to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day ('GO Day') on June 13. More than 80 locations nationwide are providing a variety of free recreational events designed to introduce children and new segments of the American public to the great outdoors while fostering a deeper appreciation for natural resources."

Our community was very fortunate to be chosen as one of the sites for this fantastic event!

Our local schools were the Perfect place for this event!

You see, in 2001-2002, we were very fortunate to be able to build brand new Elementary, Middle and High Schools. Many local and state agencies became very involved with this project, and our schools became one of the very first schools in the country to be built with a "theme". Because of the schools proximity to the Talladega National Forest and to Cheaha Mountain, a "Nature" theme was adopted, especially in our Elementary School.

Here is some information taken from the TCBOE Website about our Elementary School:

"Smokey Bear Welcomes You", proclaims the Forestry Service's famous furry icon on the entrance sign at Munford Elementary School. The building depicts and promotes aspects of the great outdoors in every nook and cranny. Children enter the building through a realistic looking cave, complete with stalactites. A stone path runs the length of the entrance hallway, while natural looking trees "grow" from the walls. The trees are scientifically accurate enough so that children can learn to identify the trees. "The Enchanted Forest" wing for kindergarten and first grade students focuses on plants and trees. Second and third graders learn about animals and wildlife in the wing called "Where the Wild Things Are" and water issues become clear to fourth and fifth grade students in "The Main Stream" hallways. Each of these wings features exhibits that continue the school's overall theme: "Discovering Through Nature, The Enchantment of Learning." In the cafeteria, students gaze at native fish swimming in a 250-gallon aquarium surrounded by a hand painted mural of a local river. Many of the students will eventually work and own land in the Talladega County area and it is important to teach them how to manage land responsibly. However, it is not the goal of the school to graduate 700 future foresters. Well-rounded citizens are the goal. Munford Elementary wants to produce students who understand the complex interaction of the environment and the need to keep it clean and healthy, while at the same time using products responsibly. We hope to help students understand the value of the forest as a natural resource - that natural resources, our health, and environmental health are interrelated.

The Smokey the Bear Welcome sign.

Stalactites that greet you as you walk into the school.

"Clouds and Trees" and a flagstone walkway through the school.

Gym stage with "trees".

Mural and fish tank in the cafeteria.

Close up of the fish tank. These are local bass, brim, and catfish.

All in this small community are just THRILLED with our wonderful schools!

So, now back to the event!

The day did not start off good at all. As has been the case for the past 8-out-of-9 weekends, we woke up to rain.

Lots and Lots of rain.

We were unsure if they were still having the event, but fortunately we were informed via Facebook that the "Show would go on!!"....It would just be held "inside" instead of out.

Kinda ironic, don't ya think?

Marty had been called out to repair some storm damage (he works for a local utility company), and Chelsea doesn't "DO" outdoors, so it was just me and the wild man alone for the day.

We did get there a little later than we wanted, and so we came in right in the middle of the animal show, put on by the Anniston Museum of Natural History. Dan Spaulding from the Museum put on a very informative and HILARIOUS show! His imitation of Steve Irwin (God rest his soul) was spot on, and had us all laughing hysterically!

Dan started off with Giant Hissing Cockroaches (YUK!!), and then moved to a HUGE tarantula. Jameson was intrigued, but not enough to touch or

Then Dan brought out a little surprise....a baby CROCODILE found crossing the road NEAR OUR AREA!!! He was really cute, well as cute as a baby crock can be, and brought him around for all the children to see and touch. Jameson wasn't too sure about touching him, but finally did after I did.

He couldn't be outdone by mom, could he?

Next, Dan decided that it was time to bring out the "gulp" SNAKES!

Unlike some people, snakes don't bother me.....well, as long as they aren't around, or dead, or something....but I do realize that snakes DO bother a lot of folks....My son, included!

Jameson immediately went on "high alert" as Dan revealed the small, but vicious, non-poisonous snake. Dan poked and prodded and teased that snake until he finally struck....sending shrieks across the gym. Then Dan decided to do a little dance, shaking his bootie, in front of the snake....causing the snake to strike at Dan's backside, sending even more screams thoughout the audience.

(I have some really cute video of this....BUT, DUMB ME, had the camera turned sideways while videoing this, and I can't figure out how to rotate it! UGH!!)

The final straw for many was when Dan decided to bring the snake out into the audience for everyone to get a closer look. It was at this time that Jameson had enough!

He screamed at me for trying to video his reaction and told me that we "HAD TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW!"

So, we got up and finished watching from the back of the gym.

Thankfully for Jameson, because Dan THEN brought out the "big boy" know the giant snake that can wrap around you a few times and squeeze the life out of you.

After Jameson's heart restarted, we continued though the rest of the displays that had been hurriedly moved into the inside of the school building. We saw tadpoles, frogs, turtles, and more snakes. There was a forest ranger from Little River Canyon making spearheads from rocks, and also showed Jameson how to drill wood with a primative version of a drill. He even tried out a few hand-made hula-hoops.

But the most exciting thing for Jameson (other than the drill) was this....


Jameson was in HEAVEN!!!

We talked with friends (including Jameson's "friend-girl", Gracie) while all the kids ate their frozen delights.

As we were attempting to leave, Dan was out front, loading up his animals for the journey home. Well, there were several event personnel out there who were unable to attend the animal show, so Dan decided to bring the animal show to them!

The crocodile came out first.

THEN, he decided to bring the "big boy" snake out.....right out there in front of the school entrance!.

Here is Dan pulling out the snake....

and HERE is where Jameson was when Dan pulled out the snake....


Jameson FREAKED out when I reached out and started touching the snake.

He now thinks his mommy is insane.

All in all, it was a great day and I am so glad that I drug my big ol' bootie out and experienced it!

Just seeing Jameson freak out was worth the trip! LOL

So, next year if you see "Get Outdoors Day" advertised in your local area, PLEASE GO! You will have a great time!!


  1. well it looked like you guys had lots of fun! Jameson is such cute boy,too bad about the rain though...
    i hope u r having a wonederful week my friend.ttys.;0)


  2. What a fun day, but I have to tell you I probably would have run over your precious boy trying to beat feet away from that snake! I know it's irrational, I know it's a phobia, blah blah blah - I don't care I DETEST snakes. But the rest of it looked like a lot of fun, and I even think the baby croc was cute. It looks like you have a wonderful elementary school. I'm sure that your community is very proud of such a beautiful and unique school. What a great place for kids to learn. Hugs, Kathy

  3. This looks like so much fun! And that Smokey Bear sign--how cool is that?

    By the way, my kids often think their mommy is insane. :)

  4. wow what an amazing school! Your kids and the kids in your community are very lucky to get to attend such an innovative school! I am not a fan of snakes but love that you touched it while Jameson didnt, I always think it is a good idea to keep our kids guessing and thinking we are a bit CRAZY!! LOL. Hope all is going well with you and your jury duty! Have a great fathers day weekend! Sue

  5. What a beautiful school Jameson has, I love the nature theme! I laughed my butt off looking at photo of Jameson ALL THE WAY OVER by the tree while the snake was being loaded up! HAHAHHAHA!!!!! :D

  6. What a BLAST!
    Your guy is gonna remember how BRAVE (and insane) his mom was for a very long time. LOL

    BTW, a belated "Happy Birthday" to Chelsea!!


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