Nature Fest returning to Fair Park Saturday

It’s a natural. It’s nature.

Rockdale’s Fair Park will host the fifth annual Nature Fest, sponsored by the El Camino Real chapter of Master Naturalists, Friday and Saturday.

Environmental troubadour, Bill Oliver will be at the park both days The big day is Saturday, with more than a dozen exhibits including some hands-on experiences and a variety of informational booths highlighting everything from butterflies to crawdads.

All activities are free.

On Friday, Oliver will visit Rockdale Intermediate School, then will beatFairParkfora7to8p.m.program.

He will return to the park during the Saturday activities with his Otter Space Band.

Fifteen-year-old “Commander Ben” Shraeder will return this year with his “Invasive Hunter Academy.”

His goal is to educate on invasives and their impact on the ecosystem.

He will also visit Milano Elementary School at 2 p.m. Friday, April 11.

SPEAKERS—There will also be a pair of expert speakers on hand at the park on Saturday.

Chris Harper of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Department will discuss prescribed fires and vegetation management.

Linda Ruiz-McCall of the University of Texas will use a groundwater simulator as she discusses water conservation.

Exhibits and activities Saturday include:

• Angler education, with rods and reels.

• Archeology “digs,” find and keep artifacts while learning about the discovery process.

• “Birds, Birds and More Birds.”

• Butterfly life cycles and habitats, from the Milano Junction Memorial Garden Project.

• Texas “crawdads,” a live exhibit.

• Pollinators, how they help wildflowers and more.

• Knapping demonstrations, making knives, arrowheads and more.

• Arrowhead hunting and collecting.

• Native grasses, their value in the world.

• Mammals pelts and paws, see and touch skulls and pelts, make molds of your favorite animal tracks and take them home.

• Garden habitat projects, from Little River Master Gardeners.

• Nature crafts, make “goodies” to take home.

• El Camino de Los Tejas National Historic Trail exhibit.

• Garden of Hope, food plots project by Rising Star Baptist Church.

• Face painting.

TREES—Alcoa will hand out free trees on a first-come, first-serve basis, 200 crape myrtles (various colors), 100 roughleaf dogwoods, 100 Chinquipin Oaks and 100 Mexican White Oaks.

Milam County Lions clubs will provide free “spot vision” eye screening for children ages 9 months to 5 years.

The RISD iTigers group will assist with activities.

Food services will be by Sho Nuff Soul Food.

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