Bulletin Staff Report

Hands-on learning, games and outdoor recreation are on tap at the fifth annual Discover Nature Festival, to be held Saturday at Riverbend Park in Bend from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The family-friendly event will include stations for learning about volcanoes, streams, energy, birds and animals. Kids will be able to test their skills on a bike obstacle course, a firefighter challenge, a climbing wall and a fly casting zone. Fourth graders and their families will also be able to pick up an Every Kid Outdoors Pass from the U.S. Forest Service, which gives free access to public land sites.

The annual event is designed to help foster an interest in nature and outdoor activities among the youngest residents of Deschutes County, especially in an era when TVs, phones and other online distractions are keeping kids indoors. Pediatricians routinely recommend kids have less than two hours of screen time each day and at least an hour a day of outdoor time.

The free event is sponsored by Children’s Forest of Central Oregon, a non-profit organization that develops opportunities for children to connect with nature, in partnership with Bend Parks and Rec and Deschutes National Forest.

The event will feature a raffle and Spanish interpreters will be available to support Spanish-speaking families. More information is available at childrensforestco.org.