Challenges

Here is a small sample of the kinds of challenges you will take on when you become a member of the WildLifer Challenge.

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Pitch a Tent
Claim your own space outdoors.

Challenge Description

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There are big tents and small tents. Tents that can accommodate entire families and tents for just one kid with Snoopy decals on the flaps. Whichever tent you choose, your challenge is to find that perfect spot and call it home for a day. Or night.

Lying in your tent, know that more people have stayed in tents throughout time than those who have lived in houses. Quality tents will protect you from the wind and rain, yet still allow you to connect with nature beyond the beaten down grasses of schoolyard playgrounds.

Task

Get a tent, assemble it, and get ready for a fantastic outdoor experience! Whether you head to a lake campground or pitch the tent in the backyard, you are going to love the experience!

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Plant a Tree
Get out your shovel and make an investment in the future

Challenge Description

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It takes years to grow a mature, quality tree. And only seconds to cut it down. Trees provide our world with oxygen, shade, and beauty, among others. Have you heard of the "carbon footprint" you leave behind? Many things we do everyday, like driving cars, burning trash, and more, put carbon into the atmosphere. The carbon contributes to the greenhouse gases that cause can major climate changes. The great thing about trees is that they breath carbon dioxide (CO2), like we breath oxygen, and they store the carbon. As they break down the CO2 and water, they release oxygen into the atmosphere. We benefit from trees a great deal, and so do other creatures. How many different animals, from insects to birds to monkeys, can you think of that might use a tree as their home? Or source of food?

One day, many years from the day you plant your tree, you can come back and see how your WildLifer tree has grown!

Task

Pick out a tree seed or seedling to plant and grow!

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Wet a Line
Catch a fish and get hooked for life!

Challenge Description

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You cast out your line. You sit. You wait. Suddenly, something starts tugging on your line! What could it be? A hard-charging bass? A finicky black crappie? A whiskery catfish? Or maybe a beautiful bluegill! You'll never know unless you try.

Fishing is one of America's favorite pastimes. For years, kids have traveled to various ponds, lakes and streams in pursuit of fish. And happiness. Fishing is a wonderful way to relax and reflect on life. Gone are the television ads and noises of everyday life. Meet the sun, wind and water.

Task

Get out your fishing pole and enjoy a nice morning or afternoon of fishing!

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Catch Fire Fly
Discover nature's little LED lights that don't require batteries

Challenge Description

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Blink! Blink! Blink! It happens in the summertime, but you never really know when. Whether you call them fireflies or lightning bugs, they're a sight to see! The fireflies come out and start illuminating the dark night with their little "tail-lights". They're not quick, they don't bite and they aren't slimy and squirmy. What they are is hard to catch. Since you can only find them in the dark, you may have to ask for a later bedtime. (now is that soooo bad?)

Keep your eyes open. Now you see them, now you don't. Can you catch one?

Task

Get a bug jar ready, you've got fireflies to catch!!

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Catch a Frog
Get in touch with the original Hip-Hop

Challenge Description

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Some people say their ugly and dirty, slippery and slimy. They wiggle in your hands and jump away given the chance, which comes often if you've never held a frog before.

You need to catch one of these rascals. Not only is it fun trying, it's a great experience to hold a frog (lightly) in your hands and see his little eyes and feet up close and personal. Not too personal though. Kissing a frog will not turn it into a handsome prince! But it won't give you warts, either.

Task

Find a frog or toad and catch it!

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Take a Picture
Capture nature with a shutter.

Challenge Description

It seems easy, but it’s not. You see something in nature with your naked eye, and your brain takes the picture and you have the memory forever. But what about the rest of us? We want to see it too!

Get a camera and get ready to show your creative side. Your challenge is to take a picture of anything alive and kicking in nature on this planet. Trees are alive, but they don’t kick. Bugs kick. Birds kick. All animals kick. Kick it up yourself a notch and see what you can catch on film! Or a memory card.

Task

Get out your camera and take some wildlife shots!! Although trees and plants are great and beautiful, we want to see some critters that move! Try taking pictures of birds, mammals, insects, fish, reptiles, or amphibians.

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Play Dirty
Finally! Permission to play in the mud!

Challenge Description

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Get muddy. Real Muddy. We're not talking about a speck of dirt on the back of your hand. We're talking about an all-out, full-contact mud bath here. When was the last time you went outside with your only goal being to get completely muddy? Whether you find a good old fashioned mudhole on the banks of a pond, or simply roll out the garden hose and soak down a spot in the garden, finding the mud won't be the challenge. Getting it out of your ears might be, though.

Parents: if you're shaking your head "no, no, no" right now, stop it. Mud is wet dirt. Wet dirt comes from earth and water. And earth and water is about as natural as natural can get, so relax. You're about to get a real good photo opportunity here, so don't blow it. Get out your camera and let the mud fly!

Task

Get Muddy! Put on some old clothes and get the camera ready!

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Hike a Trail
Putting one foot in front of the other never felt so good.

Challenge Description

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Pack your pack, lace up your boots and head out into the great outdoors. Hiking will take you to places you’ve never been before, and offers an experience like no other.  You’ll be going with a purpose. A mission. While other kids are sitting around the house with their fingers up their noses, you’re heading out into the great outdoors to find exciting new worlds along nature’s creative paths!

Let the baby strollers and babies rule the sidewalks – you’re headed off the beaten path in this challenge!

Task

Go on a one-hour (or more!) cross-country hike.

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Light a Fire
Campfire, that is. There's a big difference between a safe campfire and an out-of-control prairie or forest fire. Big difference.

Challenge Description

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Sitting in front of a well-controlled and contained campfire is one of life's greatest pleasures in the outdoors that many kids have yet to experience. Get ready, WildLifer Warrior, you're about to make some heat! Just make sure  that you build your fire with your parents permission and supervision, or you're gonna be feeling a different kind of heat from your parents and fire department!

There are good, safe fires and poor, dangerous fires. But both are hot and can be destructive. Knowing the difference starts with NOT ATTEMPTING THIS CHALLENGE WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION! Got it? Good.

Task

Build a basic campfire.

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Build a Fort
Sticks and stones to protect your bones.

Challenge Description

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Throughout history, humans have been making forts. Call them shelters, call them tents – but we like to call them forts. Little dwellings made for the purpose of temporary housing or protection from the elements. Or bandits. What will your fort look like? Will it be made of large tree branches or old lumber, or will it be more of a bunker dug into the side of the hill? Whatever it is, you’ll have a blast making it, playing in it, and daydreaming in it. Put on your thinking cap and get building!

Task

Build a fort out of whatever materials you want. Be creative!

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Reach for the Stars

Challenge Description

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You know that stars exist. You’ve probably even seen them from time to time. But if you live in a city with lots of lights, you’re only seeing half (or 1/1000th) of the picture! Get mom or dad to drive you into the country - at least 20 miles from any town or city - and look up. See any difference?

The Big Dipper constellation is one of the easiest and brightest constellations in the night sky. Can you find it?

Task

Make a trip out of town, find a place away from the lights, and look for a constellation in the beautiful night sky!

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Covered in Leaves
It’s simple. It’s easy. And you might get credit for helping out with the yardwork!

Challenge Description

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Leaves fall to the ground and provide much-needed nutrients back into the soil for future generations of leaves. But in the meantime - and before they head back to dirt – they’re awesome for piling up into a great big pile and playing with! Grab a rake, tell mom or dad to get their camera, and dive right in!

Task

Get out your rake, pile up some leaves, and jump in!

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Hunter's Safety
Earning your Hunter’s Safety certificate isn’t just fun, it also leads to more outdoor opportunities for the rest of your life!

Challenge Description

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Did you know more than 80 percent of the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks’ operating revenue is supplied by the people who hunt, fish, boat and use state parks? Of that 80 percent, an average of 45 percent comes from Hunting and Fishing license sales alone! Hunting plays a very important role in revenue for KDWP and for wildlife conservation in the state of Kansas.

Whenever you buy a hunting license, the money goes to the budget for state fish and wildlife agencies. They use the money for things like the hunter’s safety courses, land/habitat management and many more. The federal tax you pay whenever you buy ammunition, a gun, or a bow goes back into wildlife management programs across the country. Duck stamps help toward the acquisition of wetlands for wildlife. Habitat stamps help wildlife conservation and rehabilitation programs. So, if you hunt or fish, be proud! You help make it possible for people to enjoy wildlife in Kansas!

In this challenge, you will need to complete a Hunter's Safety course, offered in many locations throughout Kansas year-round. You will be required to take an online test, as well as a half day of classroom instruction. Seem hard? It's not. Seem boring? Not hardly. You will learn so much about the nature of hunting and respect for the outdoors that we felt that in order to be a true WildLifer, you've got to have this experience!

Task

Go to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website look at the information they have provided, and get yourself signed up for a hunter’s education course!

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Climb a Tree
Make like a monkey and get climbing!

Challenge Description

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If you’ve never climbed a tree, then you’ve never truly acted like a monkey either. Don’t want to be a monkey? That’s fine. Then just climb a tree for the pure enjoyment of rising off of the earth under your own power. Sitting in a tree gives you a new perspective in the world, and sometimes of the world. If you can sit long enough, and still enough, you may get a feathered friend to join you.

Parents: Yes, your kid can fall out of a tree and get hurt. Kids can also get hurt by falling down a flight of stairs or off a soft-cushioned couch. So let’s get past that fear. If you’re scared about letting your kid climb a tree, then you’ve probably never done it yourself. Guess what? Your turn!

Task

Put on a pair of tennis shoes, find a nice sturdy tree, and start climbing!

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Pack a Picnic
Pack a healthy picnic and find a place with your friends and/or family to enjoy a meal in the great outdoors!

Challenge Description

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Eating outside – now how hard can that be? Not very, but here’s the catch: everything you eat HAS to be healthy.“What?!? Health food?!?” you scream. Calm down, you little WildLifer warrior. This won’t be so bad. In fact, you might even enjoy it!

Most kids (and adults) today are shoveling unhealthy foods into their mouth and bodies at an alarming rate, and it’s literally killing your ability to move, develop and experience life to the fullest. And that’s what being a Kansas WildLifer is all about. Life’s too short to treat your mouth like a trash can.

So leave the french fries, ding dongs, triple-fried snack chips and sugary soft drinks where they belong – on the store shelves – and stuff a basket or backpack full of foods and drinks that will actually help you maintain a good balance of energy and nutrition necessary to becoming a lean, mean WildLifering machine! Check out our tips and resources for some easy nutritious substitutes for your next outdoor adventure!

Task

Pack a healthy picnic and find a place with your friends and/or family to enjoy a meal in the great outdoors!

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Row, Row Your Boat
Buckle up that lifejacket and get ready to “tump”.

Challenge Description

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Floating in a canoe, or any boat for that matter, brings a sensation unlike any other. You’ll be amazed at where you can go and what you’ll see.

If you’ve never been on the water in a canoe, prepare for some real excitement! A typical canoe is about 14 feet long and weighs around 45 pounds. Yet with one swift movement of your paddle, you’re in motion. As you float along in the canoe, you can feel the water passing beneath you. And since you’re on the move, the scenery is always changing. Maybe you’ll see a beaver dam or a bald eagle soaring above the river, or a deer coming down for a drink. Whatever you see, and feel, you’ll quickly realize that this is a little more challenging than the whitewater rafting on your video game console.

And don’t be afraid to get a little wet. That’s half the fun!

Task

Get your life jacket on, hop in your canoe or raft, and get ready for an adventure!! And remember, no motors allowed! Let’s see your paddling skills!

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Set Your Sites
Ready. Aim. Fire!

Challenge Description

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In video games, the available weapons are always accurate and always loaded. In real life, it’s much different. Put down your controller and pick up a real-life shooter. Whether it’s a BB gun, a bow-and-arrow, a dart gun or a handmade spear, place your target 20 feet away and see if you can hit it!

Task

See if you can hit the target with your weapon of choice. Set up your target and ready, aim, fire!

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Medic!
Earning your Hunter’s Safety certificate isn’t just fun, it also leads to more outdoor opportunities for the rest of your life!

Challenge Description

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Getting off the beaten path probably means you’re not close to a hospital, so learning some basic field skills in First Aid may be well worth your time.

Sometimes, no matter how careful we are, accidents happen and someone gets hurt. Most of the time, they are just small cuts, bruises, stings, or burns. Knowing how to treat small injuries like this can prevent infections and make your outdoor experience more fun and comfortable.

In order to be a true WildLifer, you should know some basics about first aid.

Task

Learn some basics about first aid by: making your own first aid kit, buying one and learning how to use all the contents, and/or take a first aid course.

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Swim in a Lake
Running allowed. Even encouraged.

Challenge Description

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Turtles. Snakes. Fish. They all live in or around water. And no matter where you choose to swim (lake/pond/stream), these creatures will be there. But guess what? They’re more scared of you than anything else in their little worlds, so swim happy, not scared.

Find a lake, pond or stream that has a nice beach area. Pack a lunch and sunscreen, and let the fun begin. Feel the mud between your toes and the underwater weeds tickling your legs. Go to the bottom and act like a sea-monster emerging from the underworld.  Whatever you do, you’ll find that swimming in waters not surrounded by concrete is more fun than you might expect!

Task

Get on your swimsuit and find someplace other than a pool to go for a swim!

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Bird Watching
Come in various colors, shapes, and sizes

Challenge Description

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Birds are everywhere, and to the average person’s eyes, they all look the same. In an effort to change the: “Oh, look. A bird.” exclamation to: “Hey! Check it out, a Kentucky Warbler!” discovery, this challenge wants you to pay attention to what you’re looking at. To get close enough to these wild, winged creatures, you’re going to need some help! Put up a birdfeeder – much like humans, birds can’t resist free food – and wait. Within a few days, you should have some new visitors to your neck of the woods. Another key to attracting birds is providing clean drinking water. This can be done with a bird bath or a bubbler. Fresh water can be a bigger attractant than food.

Birds are fascinating because they have something that no other animal has....feathers! Many kinds of birds travel amazing distances every year just so they can eat and start families. They also have great vocal talents! So take the time to check out these animals and learn a little bit more about them; you’re in for a real treat!

Task

Observe birds in their natural environment.

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