- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ALTAMONT, Ill. (AP) - Rodney Hirtzel thinks that youngsters don’t always gain an appreciation for the outdoors from either school or home. That’s why, he said, events such as the one over the weekend at Ballard Nature Center are so important.

“If they go to something like this, they might get interested,” said Hirtzel, president of the Little Wabash Longbeard chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Stuff like this they don’t teach at school, and a lot of parents don’t teach at home.”

Some of the “stuff” at the 23rd annual JAKES event included archery, fishing, shotgun target shoot, BB gun shoot, turkey calling and tree stand climbing. The day was capped by a demonstration by Effingham police officer Andy Warner and his K-9 partner Narco.

“We want to expose children to the outdoors and good conservation practices,” Hirtzel said.

JAKES is an acronym for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge Ethics and Sportsmanship. Parent Elizabeth Cole, who grew up in Effingham but now lives in Columbia, said the JAKES event was a worthwhile way to spend the day for her three boys, aged 9, 6 and 3.

“They do such a good job of explaining safety and giving the kids a lot of different experiences,” Cole said.

The youngsters also got a chance to learn about pioneer times from Clarence Funneman and daughter Megan of rural Effingham. The Funnemans, dressed in period garb, showed the kids how people lived more than 200 years ago.

“It was simpler, but not easy by any means,” said Clarence Funneman.

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Source: Effingham Daily News, https://bit.ly/1IT6d40

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Information from: Effingham Daily News, https://www.effinghamdailynews.com


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