JAKES Day set for Saturday

MANSFIELD -- Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is offering a day of free outdoor fun for the entire family with its annual JAKES Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The event will focus on wildlife, conservation efforts and outdoor recreational opportunities. Children can try their hands at archery, fishing and shooting sports and go on a mini-boat ride with a WRD conservation ranger.

There will also be face painting, puppet shows, retriever demonstrations and live snake and bird of prey programs. Exhibitors from wildlife-related organizations will be on hand to give out information and goodies.

The first 300 kids to arrive and register will receive a free T-shirt and hot dog lunch. Adults can also eat for a nominal fee.

Kids under age 17 can join the National Wild Turkey Federation's JAKES Club for a fee. JAKES stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship.

Door prizes will be handed out at the event. Participants are also invited to stop by the visitors center to view an indoor planetarium set up by the Atlanta Chapter of the National Astronomy Club, tour the museum and stop by the gift shop, which will offer discounts.

Children under age 16 should be accompanied by an adult.

Last year, 1,800 people attended the event, including between 600 and 800 children, said Charlie Elliott Program Manager Walter Lane.

"When you think about the gap that is developing with children connecting with nature, this is a good chance for parents to have an opportunity to expose their kids to different wildlife education opportunities and different outdoor skills opportunities," Lane said.

Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is located at 543 Elliott Trail in Mansfield. For more information, call 770-784-3059 or visit www.georgiawildlife.com and click on Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.

Sponsors for JAKES Day include the Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.