Upcoming Area Events
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Put Your Best Foot Forward: Walk Kansas Starts March 28


  Eight-week program encourages physical activity, healthy eating.

The popular Walk Kansas program returns on March 28 and this year, new features were added to enhance its focus on physical and mental health.

  “Physical activity can be a big player in disease prevention, but is also a big player in managing disease,” said Sharolyn Jackson, K-State Research and Extension family and consumer science specialist and Walk Kansas coordinator.

  The program runs March 28-May 22.

  This year’s Walk Kansas will highlight how physical activity and healthy eating can prevent or help people manage eight common challenges including mental health; heart disease; osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and brain health; obesity; arthritis; diabetes; and cancer.

Participants in the eight-week program can sign up on the Walk Kansas website or through their local K-State Research and Extension office.

  Participants are encouraged to form teams of six, with one serving as captain. Team members record their own activity – walking, bicycling or other activity – online weekly. Participants do not have to walk together, or even live in Kansas. Since teams connect through technology, many teams form with family members or friends in other parts of the state or country, Jackson said.

For the first time this year, a pilot program allows participants to sign up individually rather than as part of team if they choose.

  Though teams and individuals don’t actually walk across the state, the goal is to walk in their own neighborhoods or communities an equivalent distance to walking across Kansas. Plus, they’ll learn virtually about the state along the way. Each team (or individual) chooses one of three challenges at the outset, each with different goals.

  Challenge 1, for example, sets a minimum guideline of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and takes a team on a virtual tour of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. Challenges 2 and 3 increase the goals set.

Those who sign up for the individual pilot program will walk (virtually) the Purple Power Trail, which begins on the Kansas State University campus. The individual sets a personal goal to determine how far along they will go during the eight weeks.

  “We’re encouraging people to ‘move your way’ by engaging in moderate to vigorous activity, whether it’s walking, running, swimming or another activity,” Jackson said. “The program also encourages participants to make every bite count by eating nutrient dense foods.”

Participants will receive e-newsletters filled with recipes, activity and nutrition tips, plus information about local and statewide events and mini-webinars.

   The fee to participate is $10 per person. Registration is now open and will remain open until April 2nd. State employees who participate can earn Health Quest credits and their fee is waived. A Walk Kansas t-shirt and other apparel is available for an additional cost.

  More information is available at walkkansas.org or by contacting one of the Twin Creeks Extension Offices located in Hoxie, Oberlin, Norton and Hill City.

Virtual Wings & Wetlands Festival Set

  The Wings & Wetlands Festival sponsored by Fort Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center will continue its tradition this year and will be offered virtually in 2021.

Participants in the festival – scheduled for March 24-26 – will have access to a series of live zoom classes, as well as live socials and on-demand web resources. Registration is $20 at http://www.wingsandwetlands.com.

  “We are excited to continue the Wings & Wetlands tradition this year, even without gathering in person at our awesome wetlands,” said Curtis Wolf, director of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. “From health and humor to bird identification and diversity, the lineup of speakers and resources is sure to speak to anyone interested in birds, Kansas wetlands, and conservation, and will get everyone excited for the upcoming migration season.”

  Live Zoom programs will be offered each evening and are listed below.  Kenn Kaufman – renowned field guide author, naturalist, and artist – will headline the evening presentations with a program titled Kansas Wetlands: Crossroads of the Bird World.  Beyond the scheduled presentations, there will also be interactive Zoom socials each evening to allow participants time to interact with fellow bird enthusiasts.  Various on-demand web links will also provide registrants with added birding skills, local birding information, and advice for planning your next trip to the central Kansas wetlands. 

  Numerous organizations help organize the event, including the Kansas Wetlands Education Center; the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism; The Nature Conservancy; and the Kansas Birding Festival, Inc. For more information, a full schedule of events, and registration information, visit http://www.wingsandwetlands.com or contact the KWEC at 1-877-243-9268.

  Presenters include:

• Alvaro Jaramillo, biologist, conservationist, and guide, will present the psychological benefits of birding.

• Sharon “The Bird Chick” Stiteler, will provide a comical presentation titled “Today’s Office”

• Bob Gress with The Diversity of Birds on Kansas Wetlands

• Robert Penner with Beginning Shorebird Identification for the Great Plains

• Jason Wagner with Past and Future Management of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area

• Mike Oldham with Overview of Quivira NWR

• Chuck Otte with Be a Better Birder: Techniques and Tricks for the Beginning Birder

• Pat Silovsky with Masters of the Sky: Raptors, and Sharon Stiteler with SmartPhone Birding

Summer KAMS Camps Return to FHSU


  Changes to the format are allowing Fort Hays State University to bring back summer camps hosted by the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science. The camps were canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  High school students entering their freshman or sophomore year are invited to participate in a variety of interactive residential camps in June.

Students will participate in various hands-on academic activities during the day with FHSU faculty. Campers will participate in several socially distanced activities in the evenings, and camp staff will be available day and night for the students.

  The 2021 camps and dates are:

• June 6-10 – Engineering Design & Art: 3D Scanning and Printing, Digital Manipulation, and Lost Wax Casting. At this interactive camp, students will learn to use and navigate advanced 3D-modeling software to create a self-portrait using wax castings, ceramic molds, and sculpting techniques. Campers will also have the opportunity to use equipment at the FHSU for Applied Technology to create one-of-a-kind art projects.

• June 13-17 – Math, Code, & Magic. At this interactive, computer science-based camp, students will learn and acquire basic Java programming skills to reveal the secrets behind some of magic's most difficult card tricks. Using hands-on lab time and graphic user interface learning, campers will work to uncover the mathematics behind some amazing and magical “read your mind” card tricks.

• June 20-24 – EcoTech: Birds & Bytes: This camp features exciting introductory biology & computer programming projects to help students discover how hands-on ecology and high-tech tools can work hand-in-hand. Campers will get to conduct water studies at the historic Cheyenne Bottoms, create real smartphone nature-tracking apps, capture and collect data on small mammals, and build DIY trail cameras. Campers will even get to develop their computational thinking skills by programming a Raspberry Pi microcomputer.

• June 27-July 1 – Faster than the Speed of Sight: At this camp, students will learn how to use a high-speed camera to analyze video of events that are too fast to see with the naked eye. Questions such as "how long is the blink of an eye" and "do a baseball and basketball really fall at the same rate" will be answered as students collect video recordings of experiments and measure data in a high-speed learning environment.

  The registration fee per camp is $100 for Kansas residents and $400 for non-Kansas residents. The registration deadline is May 1, with a priority deadline of April 1. The camp fee includes a residential room, meals and snacks, camp supplies, and a camp T-shirt. Admittance to each camp will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

  The size of each camp has been reduced from 20 to 12 students to adhere to COVID protocols.

  There will be only one camper per residence hall room, and the lower number of campers will allow for social distancing on buses, in classrooms, and in the dining halls. Face masks will be required to be worn at all times, and there will be symptom checks every day.

  Camps are subject to format change or cancellation pending pandemic guidelines at the time of each camp. Participation is limited to one camp per student.

  For more information about the summer camps, contact KAMS Camp Director Sheila Clark by phone at 785.628.4168 or by email at kamssummer@fhsu.edu. The registration brochure can be downloaded here: REGISTRATION BROCHURE.