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!
With the lush green fringe of plants and lily pads gone, the winter pond looks deserted. Where did all the turtles, frogs, and insects go? Come learn about the amazing adaptations these animals have developed to survive winter and some cool things about ice. We will stroll along the boardwalks at Waterfowl Pond to see who is around in the winter and who has gone into hibernation. On our return, we'll enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate.
Drop in at Joppa Flats for an up-close winter wildlife experience! On select weekend and school vacation days, Joppa Flats volunteer Deb La Roy presents demonstrations on bird research and banding. After capturing wild birds in the Joppa backyard, Deb brings them inside to measure, weigh, examine, and then release them. The unique band that Deb places carefully on each bird’s leg connects other bird researchers with the data she’s collected. You’ll learn about your own backyard birds and why they’re here while watching scientific research in action.
The folks at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary have created an owling expedition just for kids aged 3-6! In the barn, kids will learn about owls and how they live through hands on activities. Then we'll head outside into the fading light of the sanctuary and practice our owl calls - hopefully prompting a response. After the adventure is over, we'll meet back in the barn for a cup of hot chocolate and cookies!
Not all birds have gone south. Join us during this peaceful season as we venture along the sanctuary trails in search of birds that overwinter in our area, including the ever-curious chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, and more. Bring a treat for the birds (nuts, fruit, seedpods, etc.) and we will decorate a tree for the birds. Bring binoculars if you have them (we will also have loaner binoculars available).
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.
Join Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in the old tradition of fireside storytelling to pass the time through the cold and dark days of winter. We will start inside around the warm crackle of the fireplace with a seasonal story, and then head outside to collect materials to make a nature bookmark.
Come be a winter wildlife detective and learn the tracks and signs of local animals. During the introduction you will make your own wildlife tracks ID guide and get to look at and touch real wildlife clues. Then we will head out on the trails to follow tracks and signs left by wildlife such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, beavers, and more.
Using teamwork and problem solving, we will explore the woodlands of the sanctuary and imagine that we are explorers stranded in the wilderness. In order to survive, we will need to build shelters, collect firewood, and find food and a water source. We will end by roasting marshmallows over a fire and trying out some pine needle tea.
Throughout time, people have come together to celebrate the shortest day of the year and welcome the lengthening days ahead. Sanctuary staff and volunteers invite you to join us for this beautiful candlelit event. Lantern making begins at 4:00 pm, followed by some solstice stories and folklore. With lanterns in hand, we will stroll the trails to light up the night. We will serve hot cider and cocoa at the bonfire on our return.