Play Day enjoyed by all ages

Young adventurers found something of fun and interest at the recent Clear Creek Trail Discovery Play Day in Silverdale. - Patrick McDonough | Staff Photo
Young adventurers found something of fun and interest at the recent Clear Creek Trail Discovery Play Day in Silverdale.
— image credit: Patrick McDonough | Staff Photo

Young adventurers found something of fun and interest at the recent Clear Creek Trail Discovery Play Day held from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday in Silverdale.

The event was held at the Clear Creek Sa’qad Interpretive Center in Silverdale and offered folks the chance to hear stories, create wildlife related art and get out and take a circular hike around the creek and learn about nature.

The event was hosted by the volunteers of the Clear Creek Trail Task force whose mission is to protect the Clear Creek Ecosystem as well as educate residents about the ecosystem.

Mary Zabinski, a volunteer educator with the task force, said the event was focused on the educational aspect of the group’s mission.

“The Clear Creek Task Force has a mission to steward the trail and property it is on but also to educate people on how to protect and restore the environment there,” she said.

Zabinski said she volunteered  for the task force after she returned to the area and found Clear Creek changed.

“I grew up in Kitsap County and moved away to start my career in New York,” she said. “I moved back and Clear Creek did not look the same because of all of the development around it, so I volunteered to help.”

Zabinski said she decided in 2007 to create an eco-education event focused on young people.

“Since I had preschoolers, I created a program for preschoolers,” she said.

Since that time she said the play days have attracted more than 20 preschoolers and their families to each event.

Denise Kilkenny, a volunteer educator with the Clear Creek Task Force who led the Aug. 7 expedition, said the event offered a hands-on experience in its approach to educating people.

“Our goal is to get kids into the outdoors and try to inspire an awareness and a joy for nature,” she said.

She said each event was different and offered information on wetlands wildlife, insects, trees and other nature related topics with a common goal connected to the natural world around them.

“It is just to get kids connected to the outdoors and help them have an appreciation for it and enjoy it,” she said. “We want them to realize that we are connected to the outdoors and that our resources come from it and we need to help protect and take care of it.”

Sherry Gutierrez and her son, Benjamin, have attended multiple play-day events. She said they both enjoy the events.

“My son really loves going on the hikes and coming to the trails,” she said. “Even though he hears some of the same things every year, he always learns something new.”

She said the events inspired a passion for birds in Benjamin, and the family had bought binoculars and field guides to help him build upon that passion.

Betty Fabry attended the event with her grandchildren Avery and Soren Vanas, both of whom said they also enjoyed birds.

Avery said she especially liked watching the ducks as they crossed the pond behind the interpretive center.

“I really like the ducks,” Avery said. “I like watching them get in a line and follow each other.”

The entire group stopped many times during the hike to explore trees and plants and many other natural wonders. One of the highlights of the event was when a pair of young bald eagles were spotted in the trees above the trail.

The entire group stopped and watched the eagles as Kilkenny explained that the young birds of prey were darkly feathered until they became four or five years of age and then developed the white and dark markings familiar to most as the national emblem of the United States.

The next play day event will be held Sept. 22 and will focus on trees. Zabinski said the event was one of many in the area and future play days as well as other nature events can be found by visiting


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