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Holiday offers a chance to explore natural world

The Peterborough Examiner

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By Fiona Isaacson, Examiner Staff Writer

Celebrating Family Day is a wonderful idea, said grand-mother Anne Campbell at a special Discover Nature event at Fleming College on Monday.

"It's just so important to encourage families to play together," she said.

There was a host of activities around the city and county to celebrate the holiday, in its second year, designed to give families a chance to do something together.

Discover Ontario Stewardship and Ontario Nature organized Discover Nature, to educate children and adults about the importance and value of natural heritage. It drew about 140 adults and children to the day-long event.

Family Day events were also held at the Canadian Canoe Museum. There was also free skating scheduled for the Ontario Speed Skating Oval in Lakefield, and at the Evinrude Centre with Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro.

At Fleming College families learned about bats, animal tracks, how to make bird feeders, and participated in snowshoe races, among many other activities and presentations.

Campbell came with her husband Colin on a "grandma and grandpa day out," with their six grandchildren. "We like the program. The astronomy, the bats, the kids just like all that," she said.

Shortly after participating in a snowshoe race, nine-year-old Michaela Shaughnessy said it was a fun day. "I've learned a lot I didn't know," she said. "I learned that bats actually use their eyes and they're not blind."

Michaela also said she learned that there are about 1,100 different kinds of bats.

"We learned something. Everyone did," said her father Mike. "It's a good day for all the families. It was good planning on my wife's part."

Doug van Hemessen, a stewardship co-ordinator with the Ministry of Natural Resources, said the event is a chance for people to "develop a better appreciation for nature and the things that are out there and the things you can do in the winter time. "You don't have to just stay inside."

NOTES: The Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement program of the Ministry of Natural Resources helped fund Discover Nature ... It was a free event.

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