The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the winners of Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition.
For more than 35 years, the Nature Bowl has been an exciting science challenge for teams of third- through sixth-grade students, who typically competed in-person at natural resources sites throughout CDFW’s North Central Region.
Last year saw the event cancelled as a result of COVID-19. In 2021, the event was reformatted as a nature challenge open to all California families with school-aged students. Nearly 100 families from across the state registered for the fun and educational Family Challenge Edition – a first-of-its-kind event for CDFW.
Entries were judged by CDFW staff and partners for completeness, creativity and accuracy. The top-scoring families in each activity, as well as an overall winner and two “wildcards,” received annual CDFW Lands Passes so they can further explore – for free – the more than 1 million acres owned and managed by CDFW.
These winning California families went out into nature to explore firsthand California’s native plants and wildlife and to better understand the issues and challenges confronting California’s environment. Following are the winning families and judges’ comments.
Wayne Family, Solano County, Top Overall Family
The Wayne family completed all five Nature Bowl challenges wholeheartedly, including creating a matching game to better learn Nature Bowl vocabulary. The family’s field and nature investigations were detailed and knowledgeable, including a story told from a white-tailed kite’s point-of-view. The family’s “Enviromercial” on avoiding pesticide and herbicide use was delightful and included concrete solutions.
Smith Family, San Luis Obispo County, Nature Relay/Scavenger Hunt Safari
This family documented a wide assortment of findings on video and added pertinent facts and fun to each on its scavenger hunt for the natural world nearby.
Taylor Family, Sutter County, Nature Investigations/Discover and Become
This family took comprehensive field notes and created a well-researched and entertaining story told from an ant’s point of view.
Frazee Family/Phoebe Hearst Elementary, Sacramento County, Bell Ringers
This family, with support from its local elementary school, created a fun, interactive game using the Kahoot! digital learning platform. Participants were asked a number of nature-related, multiple-choice and true-false questions such as the definition of “endemic,” and which native California bird species has the largest wingspan (California condor).
DeHart Family, Sacramento County, Team Problem-Solving
This family’s ability to identify and decipher the events in 12 nature photographs was spot-on. This family’s own snapshots were diverse, nature-related and interesting.
Phillips Family, Sacramento County, “Enviromerical”/Advertisement
This family’s video on feral, domestic cats and their impact on backyard wildlife was accurate, enjoyable to watch and included real-world solutions.
McCloud Family, Sutter County; Idrisi Family, San Diego County; Wildcard Winners
Congratulations were extended to all these top California nature families.
Special thanks to CDFW’s Nature Bowl partners: American River Conservancy; New Melones/Bureau of Reclamation; Placer Nature Center; Sacramento Audubon Society; Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge; Sutter County Resource Conservation District and Yolo Basin Foundation.
While the competition is complete and prizes have been awarded, families can still download the Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition from the CDFW website for leisure use and enjoyment.
“From a parent’s perspective, I think Nature Bowl was a great way to encourage children to spend time exploring the outdoors in their neighborhood,” said William Phillips, whose Sacramento County family won the “Enviromercial” challenge for developing a short video about feral cats and their impacts on wildlife. “This helps them appreciate the natural beauty that is near them and fosters a mindset that conservation begins at home.”