On June 14, 2024, the 4-H RiverKids Program gathered at Montevallo Lake for another exciting day of exploration and education. Facilitated by dedicated Extension agents Simon Carbone, Sherry Carter, and Sara Gibson, the program provided a fun range of activities aimed at teaching the children about nature, sustainability, and healthy living. 

Beginning with kayaking, where the kids learned the basics of paddling and maneuvering their kayaks. As they maneuvered across Montevallo Lake, they learned about the interesting details of man-made lakes, including how they are constructed, their potential depths, and the surprising fact that full-grown trees can sometimes lie hidden beneath the surface.  

Nature was on full display as the children spotted turtles and ducks paddling around. They also learned about beavers and their impressive dam building skills, gaining insight into the important role these industrious creatures play in their ecosystems.  

A highlight of the day was a nutrition lesson led by Sherry Carter, focusing on the importance of waste reduction. The kids were able to make their own salsa using a variety of ingredients. The vibrant mix included vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, green onions, and black beans, as well as fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, and peaches. Made even better with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and taco seasoning, the salsa was a hit, and the kids enjoyed their tasty, nutritious snack with chips. This activity emphasized how easy and delicious it can be to create meals with ingredients on hand, promoting healthy eating habits and reducing food waste. 

The fun continued with several “get to know you” games, including “screaming toes” and “couch,” fostering camaraderie and teamwork among the participants. These activities not only helped the kids bond but also added an element of playful competition to the day’s events. 

The 4-H RiverKids Program is a fantastic way for children to immerse themselves in nature while learning valuable lessons about environmental stewardship, health, and teamwork. Each meeting is an opportunity to explore the outdoors, gain new skills, and make lasting memories. Blending education with fun in a beautiful natural setting, the program continues to be a testament to the power of experiential learning and the joy of discovering the world around us.