Kansas Wetlands Education Center to Host Spring Break Activities

Fort Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center will be hosting free STEM activities each day over spring break for visitors of all ages.

“Bugapalooza” will be Saturday, March 9, and Wednesday, March 13. Alonso Barragan-Martinez, FHSU graduate student, will help individuals explore what makes the bugs around the wetlands center so durable and why they are important. Learn about their life cycles, how they survive the winter, and the differences between bugs, beetles, flies, bees and butterflies. Pinned insects will be on display, and microscopes will be available for a more up-close experience.

“Birds of Columbia,” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, is a photographic journey with professional photographer Bob Gress to one of the three most diverse countries for birds.

This program is a collaboration with the Shafter Art Gallery’s show “The Connected World: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen,” from March 8 through April 20. The gallery is located on Barton Community College’s Campus in Great Bend.

In “Feather Fun,” on Sunday, March 10, and Tuesday, March 12, Katya Frank, FHSU graduate student, will help visitors discover the various types and purposes of feathers. Activities include using and coloring in bird keys and matching stray feathers to the correct species of bird. Participants will also learn how to properly use binoculars for their own backyard bird identification experience.

Visitors to “Geotrooping” on Monday, March 11, will use field guides to decipher clues to the location of hidden treasure boxes on the nature trail. Mandy Kern, program specialist, will show how to find the boxes using Global Positioning Systems technology.

Treasure boxes will highlight what makes Cheyenne Bottoms special. Visitors will receive a field home guide to identify plant and animal species any time. Weather appropriate clothing is encouraged because the activity is outside.

“Have a Batacular Day” is on Thursday, March 14, and Sunday, March 17. Visitors can hang out at KWEC with Kristen Granstrom-Arndt, FHSU graduate student, and read some neat bat facts, see real bat skins, and participate in fun activities that show the unique role bats play in the world.

“Plants on your Plate,” will be Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16. Visitors will join Chelsea Hanson, FHSU graduate student, for snactivity time and learn what vegetables and fruits belong to different parts of a plant.

All activities are free.

The KWEC is located 10 miles northeast of Great Bend along K-156 Highway at Cheyenne Bottoms. Hours over Spring Break are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.