March 30, 2019 – On a very rainy Saturday morning, WRN Kids tried out some traditional indigenous game skills.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
GRCA naturalist Chris sent the families out on a hike/game that emulated what food and hazards Monarchs would find during their migration.
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.
On Saturday May 26, 2018, at their last meeting before the summer break, WRN Kids learned about honey bees and then suited up to visit the hives. Afterwards the families shared a picnic lunch.
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.
On Saturday March 31, 2018, WRN Kids learned how maple syrup has been made through the years. Here are a few photos, but to see many more photos visit the WRN Kids blog at: March 31, 2018 – Maple Syrup / Traditional Skills and especially the photo album on the WRN Facebook page: At the Maple Sugar Bush.
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.
There were two stuffed owls to look at – an Eastern Screech Owl and a Great Horned Owl.
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.
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.
Pairs of families worked together to build a shelter using only a tarp, a rope and dead branches and plant material.
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
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.
They heard a Northern Cardinal and eventually got some good views of it.