Groups gather for Shawnee National Forest's annual ArborWild - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Groups gather for Shawnee National Forest's annual ArborWild

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Several wildlife organizations and youth groups gathered at Shawnee National Forest's annual ArborWild event Tuesday afternoon.

"Lots of different stations just to connect them to the earth and help them to be better stewards of the land," said Linda Hauser, Forest Interpreter for the Shawnee National Forest.

They started this event in 2005 and offer various activities for children across Jackson County.

"We've got stations learning about geology, reptiles, microinvertebrates, the kids are getting a chance to go fishing, learning a little bit about recycling with the Jackson County Health Department," Hauser said.

8-year-old Nathalya Atkins came out to the event with her mom, sisters and close friends. She says she learned different safety tips and had a good time.

"We were over at the bee station learning about bees," Atkins said.

She tells News 3 she wasn't scared of the bees and enjoyed learning about bee safety.

"Always love nature because you're going to grow up with it all your life," Atkins said.

Organizers say the event is possible thanks to the many local community agencies and partners that work with Shawnee National Forest.

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