On Thursday, July 25, Winous Point hosted the fourth annual Day on the Wild Side. Winous Point is a private hunt and shooting club that also houses students and researchers on its 5000 acres on Sandusky Bay south of Port Clinton. In operation since 1856, Winous Point is the oldest hunt club in the United States. On Thursday it was open to the public for children grades 5-9 to attend a day at the marsh.
Day on the Wild Side is an all day camp where students can learn and participate in all things wild. There were four stations at the camp: bird banding and bird house building, navigating a duck hunt punt boat, shooting weaponry, and fishing. This year 60 students attended.
At the bird station the students identified song birds with the help of Kaufman’s Bird Guide and volunteers from Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Birds were banded and studied before being released. Students also built bluebird houses with wood that had been pre-cut by Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District personnel.
The Division of Wildlife provided poles and worms for students and then took them to a designated area where they fished. The students were then shown how to fillet their fish.
Jacob Wukie, a silver medalist at the London Olympic Games, was there to help the students with archery. Students lined up and took their shots at the target as Wukie and volunteers looked on.
At another station students learned how to paddle out to a duck blind in a punt boat. Each guide took a small group of children to a blind. At this station students also planted a native tree and learned about the importance of trees and their habitats.
Before lunch Mona Rutger and her assistant Sammy from Back to the Wild gave a presentation about their Castalia-based organization that rescues animals and releases them back to the wild. Birds of prey on display--a barn owl, a barred owl, a great horned owl, a red tailed hawk, and a bald eagle--looked on as Mona gave her presentation. The students learned about the importance of respecting their environment and about the consequences to animals and their habitats when humans don’t respect the environment.
More photos at www.thebeacon.net.