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City of Eureka offering new outdoor program for families
EUREKA- Instilling a love of nature at a young age. That’s the goal Explore Eureka, a new program by the City of Eureka’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Thursday was Nature Strollers Day at the Hikshari’ Trail in Eureka, where parents and their small children could walk in a group along the bay, all as part of Explore Eureka, which launched in February.
"We just realized as a department that we have access and the community has access to all of these waterfront trails, sequoia park, the Hikshari’ Trail, and we wanted to offer programming that takes place at these locations to expose the community to what's available to them," said Shannon Fazio, the Recreation Activities Coordinator for the City of Eureka’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Parents who were participating with their children in Nature Strollers say they enjoy utilizing Explore Eureka for multiple reasons.
"You go to a playground or something, and there's always kids to play with, but there not always the same kids. It's good to see the same people and build relationships and friendships with them," said Michael Deppe Carter.
"We live in a beautiful area where there's so much nature around us, and we're rooted in it. And we definitely want to get out and experience it and just embrace the beauty that is Humboldt County," said Melissa Vasquez.
Parks and Recreation officials say providing a safe and informative atmosphere for families to enjoy is another goal of the program.
"They're led by our instructors that are all trained and have skills and educations in these particular areas and they can just give you an extra opportunity to learn more about the places that you might visit all the time and didn't know what else might be going on there," Fazio said.
One parent with a three year old son, Michael Deppe Carter, says he sees the difference when his child is participating in an explore eureka event.
"This group is the same people that we see at the Play Center all the time, but he tends to be much more toy-focused at the play center. But out here, I've noticed that he interacts a lot more with the kids and it's been real nice," Carter said.
Parks and Recreation officials say the program will continue to evolve moving forward.
"We are interested in what other people would like to see happen. If they would like to have interpretive walks on the trails or in the forests or if they would like to see other classes that utilize the outdoors and nature," said Fazio.