Penn State Cooperative Extension in Carbon County is offering a Nature Start program for area youth. Participants involved in Nature Start will participate in monthly "gatherings," which encourage children to connect with nature through exploration, discovery and fun hands-on educational activities and events.

Nature Start programs promote environmental awareness and knowledge of the natural world and are developed to inspire and encourage youth to spend more time outdoors.

Nature Start is open to all children ages 5 to 10, regardless of where they live. Parents are highly encouraged to attend with their children.

February's topic will be "Maple Syrup." The group will be taking a hike and tapping maple trees and also learn about the process of making syrup. Plan to meet at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, 529 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe from 1 until 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 20. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served after the program.

If you have not completed a medical form or registration form, contact the extension office at (570) 325-2788 for the necessary forms to register your children.

Nature Start, like the 4-H Program is a youth component of Penn State University, which is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.

For more information on Nature Start or the 4-H Program contact Georgia Farrow, 4-H Program Assistant at the aforementioned number or e-mail; gaf4@psu.edu.