Kids @ FENCE Fall Festival to feature unique maze

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Sunday, October 31, FENCE will host its annual Kids @ FENCE Fall Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Free family events at FENCE are made possible by a grant from the Kirby Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation.

One of the ways in which FENCE fulfills its mission is through its primary community outreach program, Project FENCE (Friends Enjoying Nature Chemistry and the Environment). During 2009-2010, 9,900 students have participated or are enrolled to attend at least one of our education programs. &bsp;

Each program offered is a two part series. The first section brings FENCE to the classroom.&bsp; Project FENCEs Education Coordinator arrives at the classroom with education boxes to provide an hour of curriculum based lessons in one aspect of the sciences.

The second part of each lesson is held at FENCE. Lessons shared in the classroom are brought to life on the property through hikes on the trails, around the 2 acre pond and hands-on sessions in their nature classrooms.

One of these outdoor classrooms is the newly created maze that was set into seven and a half acres of native grasses on the 394 acres of FENCE.

What are native or warm season grasses? Native grasses were here when the first pioneers came into the southeast. They consisted of grasses such as big bluestem, Indiangrass, little bluestem, and switchgrass all of which can be found at FENCE along with over 7,000 wildflowers mixed in. These bunch grasses grow in clumps and provide excellent habitat for nesting and cover. They are also of high nutritive value.

In a collaborative effort with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, this project was undertaken to establish native grasses at FENCE for the main purpose of improving wildlife habitat such as Bobwhite quail, songbirds, rabbits and deer. The secondary purpose was to use the area as a demonstration and for environmental education.

Now in its sixth year, the native grasses have reached a height of over 3 feet tall so come see if you can find your way through the maze!

For more information or tickets to the Kids @ FENCE Fall Festival, contact FENCE at 828-859-9021 or www.fence.org.