Penn State Cooperative Extension in Carbon County is offering a Nature Start program for children, ages 5 through 10.

Youth 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 -10, regardless of where they live towns, cities, suburbs, or rural areas.

The first a.m. session will be held on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill.

From 10 a.m. to noon, children will learn about wintering wildlife and create nature crafts.

From 1 to 3 p.m. youth and their families are encouraged to participate in a winter hike and scavenger hunt starting at the Penn State Extension Office, located at the breast of Mauch Chunk Lake Dam. Nature Start programs will be led by Nature Start mentor, Rebecca Cunfer of Lehighton.

For more information or to obtain the necessary form to register your child, call the extension office at (570) 325-2788. Deadline to register is Jan. 12, 2011. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.

Nature Start, like the 4-H Program is a youth component of Penn State University. Penn State 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 (570) 325-2788 or e-mail gaf4@psu.edu [1].