Winter is a great time to look for predators and the evidence they leave behind. Today, we'll look at animal bones, fur, scat, tracks, and chews. Then we'll hike the sanctuary in search of hawks, foxes, fishers, river otters, and more. We'll investigate how these animals are able to hunt prey in the cold winter weather.
Can you imagine living outside through the entire winter? We'll explore the woodlands, wetlands, and field edges for nests, cavities, burrows, dens, and lodges to discover how birds, mammals, and insects find homes in this challenging season. We'll build an igloo or shelter and see how warm it can be inside.
Today we'll learn about one of nature's tastiest treats: maple syrup. We'll discover how to distinguish a sugar maple from all the other trees in the forest and tap one to collect the sap. After a visit to the sugarhouse, we'll know how sap is converted into syrup and try some on our very own pancakes. We'll see who can tell the difference between store-bought syrup and the real stuff!
This parent/child program is designed for the creative, curious, and active preschooler. Each 90-minute session offers a structured series of activities including original songs, movement, dramatic play, hands-on science, and a thematic snack. You'll receive coloring pages, song lyrics, vocabulary, a fun fact sheet, and a suggested reading list in an electronic goody bag! This week we'll be focusing on eagles and their annual migration to the Merrimack River estuary!
Even in the middle of winter, nature is a very busy “place!” Though you may not see them, there are an amazing variety of critters going about their business, outdoors, all winter long. What you cansee are the tracks and other sign that they leave behind.Participants in this program will become “wildlife detectives” and will look for clues that paint a picture of “who was here” and “what they were doing.”
February 2nd is Groundhog day – the day we find out whether we are in for an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. Get your kids together and enjoy a fun morning of Groundhog Day stories and crafts in the great house, followed by a fun outdoor exploration and a snack!
When and how does water form into ice? When and how does it melt? And what makes it melt faster or slower? We will perform fun science experiments to understand ice and snow, freezing and melting. They we'll put your science knowledge to work to make ice cream!
In this outdoor survival skills program, older children will learn the basics of the ancient outdoor skill of shelter building. We will look at real examples of animal homes for inspiration, learn some different shelter types and their pros and cons, discuss shelter safety, and make our own full-size shelters on the sanctuary. If there is snow we will make cozy quinzhee huts and if there is no snow we will make leafy lean-to huts. No experience necessary--just a desire to survive and thrive in the wild!
Brighten up your yard this winter with a bird feeder handmade by you and your child. Each family will receive a kit containing all the necessary parts to build a feeder that will attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, and many other birds to your yard. A short slide presentation will highlight the birds that commonly come to feeders. We'll also observe the sanctuary feeders to see which birds are looking for food. Instructors will circulate to provide assistance.
Celebrating the winter solstice goes back 5,000 years. Join the Trustees to light up the night with a Solstice stroll and celebration at Ward Reservation. Participants will meet in the parking lot for a guided candlelit walk through the woods that will include presented passages from the story "The Shortest Day" by Wendy Pfeffer. After hiking to the top of Holt Hill, which at an elevation of 420 feet above sea level is the highest point in Essex County and offers views of the Boston skyline and even the Blue Hills, the celebration will commence with a gathering around the solstice stones at Holt Hill's summit.