LeFlore GEAR UP students visit the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center


LeFlore seventh and eighth grade GEAR UP students recently visited the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Nature Center located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center sits on 170 acres of land in Fort Smith that were previously part of Fort Chaffee. Exhibits play a large part in the nature center. In addition to the interactive displays and exhibits, the center houses a classroom for educational programs such as the Hunter’s Safety and Boating Safety courses. LeFlore students participated in three activities while at the Nature Center—laser shot, archery, and a guided hike around the property.

Students participated in the laser shot activities that included learning gun safety and conservation of animals. Students used a computer-generated laser gun activity to learn aiming techniques and gun safety. They also learned about hunting laws and why those laws are in place. 

Then they moved to archery where they learned about techniques and safety. Several of the GEAR UP students are in an archery program at LeFlore School. The experience helped them improve techniques and safety.

Finally, students had a guided hike around the Wells Lake. They learned how to identify trees, common wildlife, and birds. Students walked around the Nature Center and learned about the different types of animals that are found in the Arkansas area. 

“Educational tours are an important part of Eastern’s GEAR UP program,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin.

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.

LeFlore GEAR UP students Christopher Porter and Aeris Lawson learn archery techniques at the Janet Huckabee River Valley Nature Center.

LeFlore eighth grade GEAR UP students Meagan Vaden and Harley Robinson enjoying the nature hike around Wells Lake at the Janet Huckabee River Valley Nature Center.

LeFlore GEAR UP students visited the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center. Pictured are (front row, left to right) William Day, Kanyon Beck, Ryleigh Farris, Kailey Norrell, Chabraya Steichen, Jasmine Neal, (row 2)  Jace Winters, Isaiah Lloyd, Nahali Phillips, Thomas White, Adian Christopher, Kate Holbird, Joshua Waddles, Christopher Porter, 
(row 3) Cheslor Brown, Taymen Vocque, Sara Ellis, Chris Loyd, Aeris Lawson, Justice Heaton, Derek Goodyear, Bo Dacus, Harley Robinson, Bryson Brown, Alyssa Waits, Layton Wheat, (back row) Meagan Vaden, Elora Lawson, Cameron Green, Kylynn Knight, Tristan Cutler, Rylan Luman, Hayden Fischer, and Thayden Ingle.

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