If you’re a fifth-grade teacher anywhere close to Perry County, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a terrific, free offer.

Lake Sylvia Recreation Area will be buzzing with fifth-graders Oct. 30-31 during the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s sixth Youth Outdoor Expo.

It’s a field day for 2,000 youngsters (1,000 per day) – most of them from Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline and Yell counties – who learn about nature and outdoor activities. Students from any school are welcome, although sign-in begins at 8:45 each day, which makes travel time a problem for schools at great distances.

Lake Sylvia – a USDA Forest Service site in the Ouachita National Forest about 30 miles west of Little Rock – is the perfect location for the event. Students will be able to try their hand at archery with compound bows, fishing with cane poles and firing BB guns. They’ll also learn about Arkansas wildlife and fish, boating safety, the AGFC dive team, deer stand safety, Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs, how wildlife officers use decoys to catch poachers and other programs.

Students begin at 9 a.m. and spend 45 minutes at each of three stations before having lunch. Three more stations are visited during the afternoon, each manned by experts from the AGFC or volunteers.

Teachers and students should dress for outdoor activities; the area around the lake is wooded. Schools should provide one adult chaperone per 25 students, in addition to teachers and support staff. Water will be provided, although students should bring a sack lunch. Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with special physical needs.

Teachers who have taken classes to past expos should be on the alert for a packet arriving in the mail. Teachers who are new to the expo should contact Mendy Boyles at 501-223-6476 or 501-907-0646, or via email at maboyles@agfc.state.ar.us. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Image courtesy Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

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