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Explore nature with the whole family at Columbia Springs | Let's Get Out There

The Vancouver environmental education center is having its first large public event since the pandemic began. Family Nature Fun Day is April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — This week's Let's Get Out There takes us to the Columbia Springs in Vancouver. Family Nature Fun Day is on Saturday, April 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Columbia Springs in Vancouver is a happy place for many. The Sadler family visits here quite frequently to enjoy the little things.

“Whatever they seem to be interested about, we just dive into it,” said Trent Sadler about his two daughters. Trent and his wife Martha homeschool seven-year-old Joy and six-year-old Ana. The whole family loves the spring color.

“There's a lot of nature. I like looking at the trees, the green trees,” Joy said.

An environmental education nonprofit, Columbia Springs was an old wood mill in the 1800s and processed the wood used to build Fort Vancouver.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

“I love being in the woods. I prefer it over anything else,” Trent said.

Today, there are walking trails, a trout hatchery, and after two years, more opportunities for families.

“There’s a different energy here when we've started doing field trips again,” said Columbia Springs’ education coordinator Apryl Corey. “And that kind of brings things back to feeling like home.”

They were able to continue summer camp programs through the pandemic with precautions. Getting people back outside and into the woods are what it’s all about. Saturday, April 23 is their first Family Nature Fun Day since 2020.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

“The theme for the day is looking closely, and so we're going to encourage people to really just get in and look at fine details of things that maybe they have a look closely at before,” Corey said.

Kids and parents will have a chance to check out the wetlands’ macroinvertebrates, shrink down and go on an “ant-hike,” or take your time on a self-guided scavenger hunt.

“It's a good place to just disconnect from any kind of noise and really be a part of what's happening in that moment. And that's something that's very important for humanity,” Trent said.

“You're part of the experience you get to learn with your children and I think it's healthy for the kids to see the adults around them, learn and explore and wonder as well,” Martha added.

Credit: Jon Goodwin, KGW

Family Nature Fun Day at Columbia Springs is free and there’s no need to register. Just drop in anytime from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Bring your crew out and join the Columbia Springs family.

“That's why I love Columbia Springs,” said Trent. “That's part of their mission is to show people that connection isn't just being in the same room with someone, it's about being a part of where you're at.”

Let's Get Out there airs once a week on KGW's 4 p.m. newscast and The Good Stuff, which airs Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. We're including viewer photos for this series. You can text your photos to 503-226-5088 or post them on the KGW Facebook page.

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