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Metro Parks Newsroom

Turn Your Child Into an Adventurer at Jefferson Memorial Forest

Friday February 15, 2008

LOUISVILLE – The Jefferson Memorial Forest is offering an exciting new series that will expose 5-and 6-year olds to the wonders of the natural world. Forest Explorers is a fun and educational three-day program where children can experience the life of a naturalist through field studies, crafts, and hands-on experience.

Be warned: children will get muddy during the Forest Explorers program. The good news is, they’ll have a blast doing it, and will come home with stories to tell and experiences to share with their friends. The Forest Explorers group will meet the third Saturday of the month, from March to May, from 9 a.m.-noon.

“The Forest Explorers program gives young children more opportunities to explore nature on a deeper level with their parents,” said Tonya Swan, public education coordinator at Jefferson Memorial Forest. “It becomes a memory they share and an experience they can build on – exploring their backyard, their neighborhood, their local park and beyond.”

Parents are encouraged to attend the sessions with their child. The fee, which includes nature activities, crafts and a snack, is $10 per program, although patrons can attend all three for $24. The brand-new class is limited to 15 participants. The Forest Explorers program is the next step up from Jefferson Memorial Forest’s successful pre-school program, which in its early stages has already become so crowded that a waiting list was necessary.

The sessions include:

  • Woodland Trek – Saturday, March 15. Hike through the forest and discover the sights and sounds. Explore the life of a tree, from seed to a rotting log.
  • Animal Adventures – Saturday, April 19. Discover what animals live in the forest – and how to find them. The young naturalists will create their own tracking guide and will look for signs that wildlife leave behind, including feathers, tracks and more. It’s possible those who attend might even see an animal from the forest up close.
  • Dragonflies, Damselflies and Cyclops – Saturday, May 17. Join forest naturalists as they lead you on an adventure into the wet and wild world of a lake ecosystem. Be amazed at the strange and incredible critters that live in the waters of a lake, and learn about how the ecosystem supports them.

The Jefferson Memorial Forest is located off the Gene Snyder Freeway and Interstate 65 at 11311 Mitchell Hill Road near Fairdale. At 6,191 acres, it is the largest urban forest in the United States.

Those attending the program will meet at the Horine Environmental Education Center. For additional information on the Forest Explorers and other programs, call 502/368-5404. The Jefferson Memorial Forest Web site is located at