Outdoor adventures program

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The Los Lunas Parks and Recreation Outdoor Adventures program was enjoyed by community youth this week, especially the archery and BB gun program.

The summer event is for children ages 8-12 years old, and is a week-long event similar to a mini summer camp, with a variety of activities planned from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photo: Gabriel “Gabe” Herbst, 7, learns the basics of rock repelling in the Los Lunas Parks and Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures program, hosted by Open Space and Search and Rescue park rangers this past week. Pat Jaramillo, the ranger supervisor, guides the youth as he learns to trust the ropes and repel down the side of the ditch at the Los Lunas River Park.

The Los Lunas Search and Rescue park rangers host the event with assistance from college students, who have been hired as aides by the Village Parks and Recreation Department.

“I think it’s a pretty good camp,” said Nathaniel Martinez, 12. “So far, (my favorite activity) would have to be archery, because I got to shoot a dinosaur.”

“I do a lot (of archery) at home,” said Brianna Griego, 12. “My uncle brought me a bow and then he started to teach me. I got really good at it.”

The targets included a steer, a deer and a small target in the shape of a mosquito, as well as the large dinosaur target.

Estevan Jaramillo, 7, said the target animals looked real.

“I aimed at the ear, but hit the leaves on the ground,” he said. “I didn’t hit the target.”

He was glad to practice target shooting, because he goes hunting with has dad, he said.

The children learned how to use a compass. Using a map and compass they learned to map unfamiliar terrain, as well as wilderness survival skills, how to make a safe camp fire and tie different types of rope knots.

The bow and arrow and BB gun target shooting also taught them gun safety and hunting skills.

The kids were taught rock repelling basics, and how to make a bird habitat, said Park Ranger Andrew Gutierrez.

Wildlife educator and birds of prey rescuer, Laura Simmons, visited the camp and brought large birds she had rescued that could not be released into the wild. These included an owl, a turkey vulture and a hawk, the kids said.

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photo: Toni Martinez, 10, puts the final touches on the bird house she put together. Later, the children hiked down the new two miles of trail to place them in the trees.

“That was really cool,” said Joshua Sanchez, 12. “But the owl only had one eye.”

“The hawk was missing a toe,” added Martinez.

“And she can’t catch food,” his sister, Toni, said.

Friday’s activities included a trip to Tingley Beach to fish, and a barbecue.

The camp provided good, wholesome fun and the opportunity to acquire basic, valuable skills.

“It’s fun because you get to do a lot of activities,” said 11-year-old Justin Clark.

The Los Lunas Parks and Recreation Department began Outdoor Adventures to enhance the quality of life for local youth, said Jason Duran, search and rescue team member.

Pat Jaramillo, the park ranger supervisor, has always enjoyed doing things with his nieces and nephews, he said, and he wanted to get involved in outdoor fun for local youth, something he wished would have been available when he was younger.

Schools have summer sports, so Jaramillo wanted to offer wilderness excursions.

Five years ago, working with former Park Ranger Michael McDaniel, they initiated the Outdoor Adventure program.

For information on other Parks and Recreation programs, visit the village website at www.loslunasnm.gov, and follow the department links.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.