The summer nighttime noises, we are all so used to hearing, would not be the same without one big, six-legged, 4 winged creatures called the Cicada.

This is a great time of year to hunt for Cicada shells.  I found 17 on one tree right outside my office yesterday! 

Hunting for Cicadas is fun.  You can do it with your eyeballs or your ears. 

  • Hunt with your Eyes – look on the underside of branches on your shady trees.  Cicadas live the first few years of their lives in the soil eating sap from plant roots.  Then they crawl up the tree and shed their ground-dwelling skin, in exchange for their bodies with wings.  Can you find more than me?  These shells stick really well to t-shirts.  Can you make them a fashion accessory?
  • Hunt with your Ears – listen to the outside noises as the sun goes down in the evening.  Can you hear a Cicada?  Can you find him by tracking him down by sound?  Does he stop when you get close?  Why might he do that?  Can you catch one?  What does he look like on top and on the bottom?  Can you see his little mustache?

Click here for all sorts of information and details about Cicadas.  Answer questions like:  Why do they make all that noise?  Why do they leave their shells behind?  Why do Cicadas in Kansas show up every summer, I thought they were a once ever 17 years species?

You don’t often see Cicada shells on leaves, they usually like to hang on to the bark. Can you find one on a leaf?


The 40th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) — designated by Congressional decree and Presidential Proclamation — will be held Sept. 24. The event is a nationwide celebration of hunters and anglers and their contributions to conservation.

This year, T. Boone Pickens is the honorary chair for National Hunting and Fishing Day. Pickens is one of America’s most prominent and influential businessmen. He is president and CEO of the investment firm BP Capital Management and founder of Mesa Petroleum.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Operations Office will host a NHFD event at its Pratt Operations Office located at 512 SE 25th Ave. (2 miles east and 1 mile south of Pratt) on Saturday, Sept. 24. The celebration will run from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. The event will include a kids’ fishing derby, a casting contest, catch and release fishing, archery, a canoe race, and other outdoor events.

National Hunting and Fishing Day was established in 1972 under President Nixon, when Congress dedicated the fourth Saturday of each September to recognize the efforts of generations of hunters and anglers who support wildlife conservation and habitat improvements with billons of dollars collected through fees on hunting and fishing licenses and permits, excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment, as well as donations. Many species such as white-tailed deer, turkey, pronghorn, elk, whooping cranes, and bald eagles were brought back from near extinction through management programs funded by sportsmen.

National Hunting and Fishing Day 2011 sponsors include Wonders of Wildlife, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Sportsman Channel, Realtree, Smith & Wesson, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Cabela’s,, Academy Sports + Outdoors, the Pope and Young Club, Yamaha Motor Corporation, and the Izaak Walton League.

For more information, including a detailed history of National Hunting and Fishing Day, as well as a feature article on Pickens, go online to For events in your area, contact the nearest KDWPT office.

The buses are warming up, teachers are back in their classrooms, stores are starting to sell all those fun supplies…all this means that it’s almost time for school to start!  But, school is not here yet, and if you’re running out of ideas to motivate your kids to play outdoors or on their own check out the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park’s Wildlifer Challenge

This is not for the lazy or weak at heart.  These “challenges” will get your kids aware and active in the outdoors.  And, there are prizes for completing 15 missions!!!

g2g can help you do LOTS of the challenges.  We’re going fishing (one of the challenges) next week on Wednesday.  You can pitch a tent at our camping event on Friday Sept 23.  We blogged about catching fireflies.  Did you do that?  If yes, you’ve got one challenge already completed!  Go on a Night Walk and find the big dipper (another Wildlifer Challenge).  Or, you can canoe or kayak.  Check out the local event that will help you complete this challenge!  See how easy and fun this will be!

Wildlifer Challenge Mission

 WARNING: if you’re the type of kid who loves to stay indoors, lazily perched on a nice, comfy couch while you text on your phone in front of a television with a game controller in your hand – all day, every day – you are about to be officially challenged!


Should you so choose, you will be taken on a journey of 15 outdoor challenges for you to complete. Upon completion, you will be recognized as an official Kansas WildLifer! The challenges you’ll encounter are not hard to complete if you have one ounce of “WildLifer” spirit inside you. Some challenges may only take you an hour to accomplish, while others may take an entire day. You’ll quickly realize that you are not like everyone else! You’re busting the norm wide open and living life to the fullest!


PROVE to you that getting outside – beyond the playgrounds, ball fields and concrete sidewalks – is a blast!


PROVE to us that you’re not the kind of kid who wastes all of your valuable free time laying around inside the house all day. That’s not you. You like the thrill of adventure. The mystery of the unknown. Maybe even a little danger from time to time. The sense of freedom. You rock!

Exploring the outdoors will make you think for yourself. You have to be creative. Successful. Not because some video game congratulates you on completing another level, but because you PROVE IT TO YOURSELF with what you can do with a little determination and freedom in the wild outdoors!

PARENTAL WARNING: In today’s world, children are spending more time playing video games, texting, and watching TV than ever before.  It’s not that all of these activities are necessarily bad, but anything in excess is usually not a good thing. And lying around the house – all day, every day – is literally killing America’s youth by contributing to an inactive lifestyle, which of course leads to obesity and other social and health problems in our communities. It’s not good. Children all over America are missing out on the opportunities to experience nature, wildlife and the outdoors simply because the experiences have been removed from our culture over time.


If you look at these challenges and think “I’ve done this before. This will be easy”, consider yourself very fortunate. Someone, somewhere along your life’s journey encouraged and supported you as you explored the outdoor world. And that’s now your mission: to be that someone in your child’s outdoor life and experiences.

If when you see these challenges your lip starts to snarl, your brow starts to furrow and your skin starts to crawl, take a deep breath and relax. We’re not asking for much here, and we truly believe that you’ll enjoy yourself. Today, instead of being outdoors, many people choose to stay in their comfortable little electronic worlds. Think about it. It’s a proven fact that kids today spend record amounts of time staring at video games, cell phones and televisions. What about you? Maybe it’s not a video game, but instead it’s your computer or cell phone. And maybe you need to become a WildLifer too! Two birds with one stone…perfect!

I read a great article in Outside Magazine this month.  It’s all about how important it is for parents to model outdoor play & recreation for their children. 

You’ve seen kids copy their parents by pretending to mow the lawn, cook, and talk on the phone.  These are all expamples of work, which is a great thing to teach children.  However, shouldn’t parents also teach kids to play? 

If you are active in outdoor recreation your kids will want to be outside and create outdoor habits and hobbies too.  

Check out the “Father Plays Best” article for more details about how you as a dad (or mom) can incorporate your kids into your outdoor hobbies, exercise and adventures.  Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to stay inside!   

Here is a quick summary of my favorite parts of the article:

  1. Take them with you – If you are hiking, biking, hunting or running, toting kids along will make you stronger.  Bringing your kids along will build habits of exercise and outdoor appreciation.  Last fall we hiked in the mountains with a 3 and 1 & 1/2  year old.  Forget the fancy kidcarriers, those Kansas kiddos hiked up and down those hills the whole way, we took a few extra breaks but they did awesome!  (Safety Tip:  bring those babies along, but make sure that their neck muscles are strong enough for the type of activity you’re doing.) 
  2. Think outside the sandbox – What fun unstructured adventures can you create with your kids?   Treehouse?  Fort?  Made-up games?  A kids garden?  Give them opportunities right outside the back door.  Go play with them often.  “Show them how to have fun out there.”
  3. Hit the road –  Take you kids on outdoor adventures; camping, biking, canoeing, hiking, etc. Prepare them for the types of activities they will be doing, but also be flexible in your schedule so that you can stop to do things that just come along.  Teach them the packing and the clean up skills as well.  You want them to be able to do these things on their own or with their own kids someday.  This leads into the last one… 
  4. Set them free – slowly, bit by bit, begin to let your kids go off on their own.  If you are kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking or whatever with them from a young age, when they are older you will be confident when they are ready to be on their own.  Sometimes it takes more bravery from the parent, rather than the child, to let the kids off on their own.  Start with just a few minutes on their own and build up to full independence.  Ahh, this is what parenting is all about!

What activities to you like to do with your kids outside?  What adventure are you going to take your kids on next?


Moms, would you like your children to be interested, engaged and comfortable with the outdoors?  Do you wonder if you outdoor skills are up to par?

Well, look no further.  Simply take a few days away and learn all sorts of fun outdoor-skills that will make family outings comfortable, safe, and memorable for your family.  Take the Becoming an Outdoor Woman Workshop May 13-15 at Rock Springs 4-H Center, Junction City, KS

Check out Becoming an Outdoors Woman for more information and to register.  This weekend is an educational opportunity that teaches hands-on outdoor skills to adult women (18 and over) in a safe, supportive atmosphere.  Workshops are designed especially for women who are beginers, so no experience is necessary.  Equipment and instruction are provided.  This is a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks program.

Classes you can take include:  fishing, tent camping, float tubing, canoeing, wilderness survival, archery, fly tying and fishing, dutch oven and open campfire cooking, leadership, backpacking basics, birdwatching, dyeing with  native plants, hunting, wild game cooking, steam ecology, gun safety, and sports dogs.

If you head out for a family outing, don’t forget to pack a snack along with lots of water!   Snacks help to keep you fueled up and ready to have fun in the sun!  Here are a couple of snacks that are perfect to pack up and enjoy outside.

Chicken Feed 

A Snack to Take on a Hike!


  • 2 cups toasted oat cereal
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup small chocolate candies (such as M&M’s®)

Directions: Remember to Wash Your Hands!

1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir gently.
2. Serve in paper cups or small bags.

Helpful Hints:

Individual bowls of ingredients can be set up, and children can take one spoonful of the ones they want to eat in their cup. They may go through the line again after everyone has been through once.

Power Bites

A backpack snack!


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins 

Directions: Remember to Wash Your Hands!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly coat 9×9-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, egg, vanilla and carrots.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Let cool and cut into bars.

Helpful Hints:

Power Bites are low in fat and high in healthy ingredients. There’s
fruit — applesauce and raisins; vegetables — carrots; and whole grains — oatmeal and whole wheat. Individually wrap Power Bites to take on a hike for energy along the way.

Cooking is a math lesson right in the kitchen. How do you measure 3/4 cup carrots? (Use a 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup measure.) Stir flour before spooning into the cup and leveling off for accurate measure. Use a ruler to measure baking dishes to find one that is 9 inches square. This recipe makes 18 bars about 3×2 inches each. How will you cut the bars in the dish? ( Six bars one way by 3 bars the other way will make 18.)

Safety Tip:

Just as important as washing your hands before cooking is cleaning the countertops. The best way to sanitize the kitchen counter is to put 1 teaspoon bleach in a quart spray bottle of water. Spray the counter, wipe with a paper towel and then throw the towel away. Change the water in the spray bottle daily.

Grating carrots is a fun cooking experience for kids, but it can also be a real “knuckle-scraper.” Adult supervision and “how-to” instructions are important for kids.

You can find more Kids a Cooking Recipies at:

On this “Create a Memory Friday”- we will look at some ideas from Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity – and this is the description I found on their homepage:

“Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

Let’s Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country.”

Today, while perusing their blog, I found a website link that gives some great ideas for making “play time” a family activity:

Some basic ideas from the list include:

– involve the whole family in outdoor and indoor chores together

-plant a garden together in your backyard (no backyard? join a community garden – there are a couple in wichita!)

-instead of going through the automatic car wash, wash the car at home and let the kids play in the bubbles!

Over Memorial Day weekend, try to get the kids involved in some of your chores – watering the garden, plucking weeds, washing the car, walking the dog – and enjoy the outside! The weather forecast predicts SUNNY & HOT – and is perfect for any type of water activity. As always, please use caution when playing and working in the heat – drink plenty of water and take rest breaks when needed.

Next Page »