WRN Kids – Predator-Prey Simulation Game

On Saturday February 23, 2019, WRN Kids learned about the different levels of the food web by acting the roles of herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, disease and human.



They had to collect food and water while avoiding predators and seeking out prey to tag.



For more photos and a full explanation of how to play the predator-prey game see the report by one of the participants on the WRN Kids blog at: February 23, 2019 – Predator-Prey Simulation Game.

WRN Kids – Winter Tracking

On Saturday January 26, 2019 WRN Kids headed outside and found lots of evidence of creatures sharing space with us.

They saw tracks of all kinds – a tuft of deer fur beside deer tracks, several different small mammal tunnels, and bird tracks. Other evidence of animals and insects included rabbit scat, a Goldenrod gall and a cocoon.


For more photos see the WRN Kids blog at: January 26, 2019 – Winter Tracking.

WRN Kids and WRN Teens – Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2018

CBC4Kids 2018
CBC4Kids 2018

Christmas Bird Count for Kids
at rare Charitable Research Reserve on January 12, 2019

WRN Kids and WRN Teens had a special opportunity recently: rare Charitable Research Reserve hosted their third annual “Christmas Bird Count for Kids” on January 12 and we were all invited!

There was a large group this year, including a few of our WRN Kids families.  First, we all learned about birdwatching basics from Adam in the Slit Barn then everyone headed out in small groups, each led by an expert birder (including Adam and WRN members David Gascoigne, Fraser Gibson and Josh Shea as well as rare staff Emily Leslie) to count all the birds they could find.  The Kids were enthusiastic in spite of the cold, managed their binoculars like pros, understood why we walked to several different habitats, and saw an impressive number of birds!  They enjoyed warming up afterwards with a hot chocolate in the ECO Centre next door.

As well, four of our dedicated WRN Teens volunteered to help out at the event, filling feeders, assisting group leaders, moving furniture, and washing dishes.  While doing jobs that needed to be done, they were also super role models for the Kids.

Huge thanks to rare for hosting, the volunteer birders for continuing to inspire us all, the parents for getting their families outside, the Teens for volunteering early on a cold Saturday morning, and especially the Kids for wanting to learn about and protect nature!

Jenna Quinn, rare Program Scientist summarizes:
“Together, we identified 23 species and made over 900 individual observations, of (accounting for duplicate observations) approximately 275 birds.  Canada Geese were the most abundant species we observed, and every group was able to spot a juvenile Bald Eagle perched in a tree.  Two groups were lucky to see three Eastern Bluebirds, a rarity at this time of year.”

See the full results below.  We’re all pretty proud to be contributing to Citizen Science with our Bird Count!  Can’t wait to do it again next year!

WRN Kids & Teens coordinator
Marg Paré

CBC4Kids 2018 Results

WRN Kids – The Night Sky

WRN Kids was a bit different this month; they met in the evening to learn about the night sky! Sadly, the sky was overcast so the program was all indoors. The Kids were still excited to learn about astronomy and had really great questions.

Ian, a GRCA naturalist, used a software program to show constellations and planets, and travel through space and time.


Afterwards, several volunteers from the KW branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada showed off their toys! The Kids got to touch the telescopes and learn a bit about how they work. After chatting with the amateur astronomers, the Kids took home sky charts to try out on a clearer night.




WRN Kids – Water

On Saturday October 27, 2018 the WRN Kids met the turtles who live inside at the nature centre and learned about turtle shells, how turtles survive, and why they are endangered.


It was cold, windy and a bit rainy but they got their rubber boots on, brought the nets and buckets, and got right into the creek to see who lives there — and could still be found this late in the fall.



They were excited to catch fish, some very cool bugs, some strange creatures in early stages of development, tiny red Blood Worms — and a Northern Leopard Frog!


For more photos visit the WRN Kids blog at October 27, 2018 – Water at Laurel Creek Nature Centre.



Viceroy Butterfly
Viceroy Butterfly

WRN Kids – Monarch Migration and Bug Hunt

Viceroy Butterfly

On Saturday September 29, 2018 the WRN Kids learned about the Monarch butterfly life cycle and migration from Jeff Grant, a grade 10 student who is a butterfly and moth expert.

Jeff Grant
Jeff Grant

Monarch Migration Game

GRCA naturalist Chris sent the families out on a hike/game that emulated what food and hazards Monarchs would find during their migration.

Next, they went hunting live bugs with nets in the meadow.

Bug Hunt

Examining captured bug

Bug Hunt

Butterfly in cage

For more photos visit the WRN Kids blog at September 29, 2018 – Monarch Migration and Bug Hunt.

Viceroy Butterfly
Viceroy Butterfly

WRN Kids – SpruceHaven Outing


On Saturday June 9, 2018 WRN Kids went on a bonus outing to SpruceHaven Farm in St. Agatha led by David Gascoigne. They viewed the mud nests in the barn and learned how the nests are monitored by volunteers during the breeding season.



They got to see a one day old Barn Swallow up close.



Out in the fields they saw Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows, and got to hold a Tree Swallow nestling.



For more on this outing and some more photos visit the WRN Kids blog at: June 9, 2018 — SpruceHaven.

WRN Kids – Tree Planting

Tree Planting

New trees are needed in a few spots at Laurel Creek Nature Centre because of some invasive species being removed and to replace ash trees that had to be cut down.

On Saturday April28, 2018 – WRN Kids and their adults put in a morning of carrying trees, shovels and buckets, finding the perfect planting spot not too close to other trees, digging a hole, digging the hole bigger, getting the young tree comfortable, filling in and packing down the soil, filling buckets with mulch, carrying buckets, spreading mulch… and starting over!

For more photos, see the blog posting at their website: April 28, 2018 – Tree Planting.




Tree Planting


WRN Kids – Owl Prowl

Easern Screech Owl (Stuffed)

WRN Kids began their evening program on Saturday February 24, 2018 with a short talk about owls and their special adaptations that make them different from other birds. Eyes, ears, head rotation, silent flight and gripping talons are all geared to detecting and catching their prey.

Introduction to Owls
Introduction to Owls

Explaining Owl Features
Explaining Owl Features

There were two stuffed owls to look at – an Eastern Screech Owl and a Great Horned Owl.

Easern Screech Owl (Stuffed)
Easern Screech Owl (Stuffed)

Great Horned Owl (Stuffed)
Great Horned Owl (Stuffed)

Next they went out on the trails in the forest in search of owls. It was a lovely night, not too windy and plenty of moonlight. After several stops with no response to played calls, they finally got replies from a couple of screech owls. Some caught a glimpse of the owls flying over their heads, and some were lucky enough to see one sitting in a tree. All in all, it was a wonderful night.

For a full report of this event see the blog at the WRN Kids website: February 24, 2018 – Owl Prowl.

WRN Kids – Shelter Building

Shelter Building

Since another mild spell melted almost all the snow, WRN Kids didn’t get to go snowshoeing on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Instead they got busy designing and building shelters. 

Shelter Building Instructions

Pairs of families worked together to build a shelter using only a tarp, a rope and dead branches and plant material.

Shelter Building

Shelter Building

Shelter Building

After testing how warm their shelter could get when occupied, they headed back to the nature centre to feed chickadees from their hands.

For more on this event and more photos see the WRN Kids blog at: January 27, 2018 – Shelter-Building

Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2017


Some of the WRN Kids families were part of the Christmas Bird Count for Kids at rare Charitable Research Reserve. This event was initially scheduled for a Saturday earlier in the month, but the ferocious wind-chill that day resulted in a postponement to a PD day on Friday, January 26, 2018.

They started out at the feeders behind the Eco Centre, where there were lots of birds.

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

It was a perfect winter’s day, with the temperature hovering near the freezing mark, and everyone enjoyed walking the trails.
CBC4Kids Walking the Trails
Walking the Trails

They heard a Northern Cardinal and eventually got some good views of it.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Back at the Eco Centre they gathered to write down their sightings and enjoy coffee and hot chocolate.

For a full report of this event, see David Gascoigne’s blog at Travels With Birds.