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Outdoor adventures at Ashton Wildwood Park on Saturday

If you think you can put together a team of outdoor experts who are the best and can prove it, then this Saturday you and your team should head to Ashton Wildwood Park, located west of Baxter.

Starting at 3 p.m., teams will compete in the Ashton Outdoor Adventure, which is put on by Jasper County Conservation. Categories for the competition include casting, fish tackle and cleaning, orienteering, survival, archery, and Iowa Hunting Regulations. There will also be free hot dogs and an astronomical presentation on lunacy from the Des Moines Astronomical Society.

Jasper County Conservation Outdoor Skills Coordinator Cara Ingle helped plan the event and is looking forward to it.

“I thought this was a great event that needed to be done again this year,” Ingle said. “Specifically, the Family Outdoor Challenge caught my eye. And since I’ve been doing family outdoor classrooms at the Newton Izaak Walton League all summer, what better way to put the knowledge the families learned from those programs into practice than a competition? It sounded like a great ending to the summer. Also, the popularity of realistic survival shows on TV has grown over the past few months. This competition offers families and even scout troops the opportunity to put the survival skills they learn into practice.”

Participation costs $5 for a team of three or more. Teams get to chose their own name and color and each member of the winning team receives a prize.

“Registration has gone pretty well,” Ingle said. “We’ve had lots of inquiries about the competition. We have one team signed up so far with six members. More are expected to sign up as the event draws closer.”

The itinerary projects the contest to be done around 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m., a Lunacy presentation at 8 p.m. and finally stargazing at 9 p.m.

Ingle herself has plenty of outdoor experience, which aided in the planning of the event.

“I grew up going to every summer camp I could,” Ingle said. “I’ve also loved learning about the outdoors and survival. As a girl scout, I participated in many team building events every year. Team building in competitions such as these help kids build confidence and character. I remember as a student ambassador in 2001, we went on a 21- day trip to New Zealand and Australia.

“Thirty-students and myself, were dropped at our first location and had to team up for a team building competition that was no joke,” she continued. “We were harnessed and roped together to get our team across a steep ravine. It’s experiences like that we never forget. I love hiking and backpacking now whenever I can.”

Ingle has pretty high hopes for this event and its future.

“I do see this as an ongoing event,” Ingle said. “It’s great for not only Jasper County Conservation, but also the Des Moines Astronomical Society as well. Not everyone is Jasper County knows about the observatory at Ashton Park.”

To register, contact the Jasper County Conservation Office at (641) 792-9780, or show up early and sign-up on-site.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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