WRN Kids – Pond Study

Pond Study

On Saturday May 27, 2023, WRN Kids went to Huron Natural Area in Kitchener to do a pond study led by Laura. It was great day to be outside. The pond looked very small from the outside but we soon learned there were many creatures living in it together.

Small Pond with Kids
Boys with Nets

We each had nets to scoop out the creatures and put them into containers of water to examine them. We had a picture guide to help us identify them.

Sometimes it looked like I had found nothing, but if I looked closely a little dot be swimming and it was alive! Someone found a tadpole with legs and it was pretty big. I found a dragon fly larva. It was a big size. Laura explained and showed us how it has a cup like mouth that can scoop and catch its prey. It is a good hunter. We did find a leech, but nobody had one on them.

Examining a Dragon Fly larva
Leopard Frog

 We saw lots and lots of frogs. Most of them were Leopard frog. We found some Green frogs as well and they sound like one banjo string being plucked. We learned how-to pick-up frogs properly and to hold them close to the ground in case they wanted to get away.

We found some Backswimmers and nymphs of Damselflies. We also saw a Garter snake in the water! There were lots of snails of many different sizes.

Garter Snake
Painted Turtles

We found some adorable little baby Painted turtles. I also caught a little minnow.

At the end we said thank you to the pond. We all learned a lot that day. It’s important to learn about what lives in ponds so we know how important they are.

Reported by Hunter

WRN Kids – Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up

Creek Clean Up

On Saturday April 29, 2023, we went to Bechtel Park in Waterloo to pick up trash along the Laurel Creek. It was raining off and on! It was a small group of us. We followed the trail. We found some bones from an animal on the trail. I think it was some kind of bird that something tried to eat it. There were lots of tall trees around us. We found an empty nest for a flying squirrel. There wasn’t much garbage on the trail but when got to the one part of the creek, there was a lot of trash!

The before picture
Mostly done

We had garbage pickers, gloves and pails. There were lots of small pieces of styrofoam and plastic. There were lots of Nerf darts. My favourite find was a big dice made of foam. Someone found a Barbie wearing a swim suit.

We picked up four bags of trash. It is a good thing to do because we are helping the environment.

Reported by Hunter

A15.5 kg haul of trash

WRN Kids – Predator Prey Game

Predator Prey Game

On Saturday April 15, 2023, we met at Auburn Park in Waterloo to play Predator vs Prey.

First, we played a game of “cross the creek”. There was a grid made in the sand and we had to pick squares in order to cross the creek. There was a pattern that we had to figure out. If you picked the wrong square, you had to start over again. You got to cross the creek if you pick the right squares or if you could jump far enough.

Creek crossing game
Picking up our clothes pin lives

Next, we played Predator vs Prey in the forest. All the kids had clothes pins as their lives. Some kids were worms (prey) and could only eat plants. Some kids were mice and could eat worms and plants. Two of us were foxes. We could eat worms and mice. If you got caught by a predator you had to give up one of your clothes pins. There were stations for plants, if you went there, you got a piece of green tape. There were stations for water, if you went there, you got a blue clothes pin. You could get more clothes pins by collecting three of either pieces of tape and/or blue clothes pins. If you ran out of clothes pins you died and were out of the game.

 It was a lot of running to catch the worms and mice!! We also added a cat, a fisherman and someone was rabies in order to make it harder. This game showed us how hard it is to survive as an animal. Either you are running to get food or running away from becoming food.

Snack Time

I had a lot of fun!

Reported by Hunter

The chase is on
Gray Treefrog

WRN Kids – Winter Fun

Winter Fun

On Saturday, February 25, 2023, WRN Kids met at Laurel Creek Conservation Area.

What was the topic today?
Building a Shelter & Learning about the Pine Beetle.

What activities did we do?
We went hiking, fed the Chickadees, looked for Pine Shoot Beetles and saw their galleries, and we built a shelter from sheets and rope tied to trees and sticks.

Dinner is served
Do you recommend this restaurant?

Why is it important to learn about?
It’s important to learn how to make a shelter in case you lose your map or get lost, so you can keep warm.

What was the weather like?
It was snowy, cold, and a bit windy.

Under Construction
Home Sweet Home

How did you feel when you did the activities?
I felt very happy about the Chickadees landing on my hand for the first time. I enjoyed looking under the bark for the beetles. I had fun building the shelter but felt a bit nervous that it might fall.

Pine Shoot Beetle galleries

What did you like best about today?
My favourite parts were the Chickadees and building the shelter.

Reported by Jack

Taking a closer look at the Pine Shoot Beetle galleries
What lives here?

WRN Kids – Owl Prowl

Owl Prowl at Huron Natural Area

Thursday February 16, 2023

The WR Nature Kids met at Huron Natural Area at night for an owl prowl led by Fraser Gibson.

Fraser told us many interesting things about owls. Owls eat small animals like squirrels, mice and voles. Great Horned owls will also eat smaller birds (including other owls!) as well as skunks. Owls eat small animals whole and later cough up the fur and bones that have been squeezed together in the bird’s gizzard. It comes out in a pellet shape that can sometimes be found on the ground. Owls can turn their heads almost all the way around to see and hear their prey. Fraser showed us an owl skull, an owl pellet and feather.


We carefully walked along an icy trail to three different areas where Fraser played the call of the Screech Owl on his phone. The Screech Owl makes a trilling sound. We stood quietly listening for a reply but we didn’t hear one. After calling the Screech Owl a many times, Fraser tried calling the Great Horned owl by making hooting sounds. We didn’t hear an owl call back. We all tried the Great Horned owl call and sounded like a choir of owls! The weather was a bit windy and it was starting to rain and these are not good conditions to hear owls.

Owls are getting ready to nest at this time of year. They call out to defend their territory, to find a mate and to keep track of each other. Even though we didn’t hear any owls, it was fun to be outside in the dark in the woods. Being quiet and standing still makes you aware of other noises like the wind blowing through the trees and your snowpants and boots if you move even a tiny bit!

Thank you Fraser for leading us!

submitted by Rachelle Swayze

WRN Kids – Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2022

Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2022

rare Charitable Research Reserve
Saturday, January 14, 2023

On January 14, we went to RARE in Cambridge to take part in their Christmas bird count event for kids. It was a cold but sunny day. We each had binoculars to look for birds. We went for a hike to the Grand River to look for birds. The snow was pretty on the trees.

The first birds we saw were some Eastern Bluebirds and Goldfinches in the trees. We could also hear some Chickadees.

When we got to the river, we could see some mallard ducks and Canadian geese. With our binoculars we could see some Buffleheads and Goldeneye swimming on the river. It was really cool to see.

It is important to learn about birds in our area. When we got back, we had some hot chocolate to warm up. There was a taxidermy of a Snow Owl. It was really neat to see, they look so cool.

Reported by Hunter

WRN Kids – Trail Trimming at SpruceHaven

Trail Trimming at SpruceHaven

Saturday, December 17, 2022

On Saturday December 17, WRN Kids met with WRN Teens at SpruceHaven to do some trail work. We trimmed tree branches and plants that were hanging over the trails. It was interesting to notice the different textures, colours and flexibility of the branches and plants we cut.


The weather was chilly and overcast but we were dressed warmly. There was a bit of snow on the ground and we saw some animal tracks. We were undecided if they were from a muskrat or possum. It was little bit windy and we could hear the faint sound of the ice coating the branches crack.

It was great to be outside and with other people who value nature and the special place that SpruceHaven is.

We trimmed many branches and took them home to make holiday decorations.

Thank you SpruceHaven and WRN Teens for sharing this outing with us!

submitted by Rachelle

WRN Kids – Archaeology at rare

Archaeology at rare

Saturday, November 26, 2022

My favorite nature discovery this term was a visit to a place where people had been digging for artifacts from early North America, especially focusing on the First Nations people that had once lived there. An archaeologist taught us a lot of interesting things.

The best thing I liked about that day was that the archaeologist showed us how the early First Nations people used certain tools to make knives and arrowheads. He used a piece of cloth which he put on his knee. Then he put a chunk of black glassy rock which was called obsidian on that piece of cloth. He later used a lot of different tools to hack it. He said that these people used the bottom part of the antler of a moose to hack at the rock. When he pounded, the rock turned into a little flakes.

Knapping obsidian with a bone tool
That's one sharp edge!

Here is what he said. When you apply downward striking pressure onto a rock, it’ll always flake off at a certain angle, and if you flake on both sides, then it’ll eventually lead to a sharp edge in the middle. In the present people would use short wooden handles with copper knobs at the ends to knock off the flakes. And the flakes that were knocked off could be used as arrowheads while the finished products could be used as a knife. That way a chunk of rock could make a bunch of arrowhead flakes and a knife at the same time.
I think it was very interesting and the archaeologist even let me take one of those flakes back home. I noticed that the stone had a smooth texture and flaked very easily. What made it extra interesting was that the stone always flicked at the exact same angle somewhere close to 45°. I suppose that if flaked at that certain angle all the time, then people would be able to determine what angle they wanted to make it into by hitting it in different directions.

During our walk they also showed us a lot of interesting sites in which they had found artifacts. There was a little knoll by the side of the Grand River where they had found some flakes. What made it interesting was it wasn’t an encampment or anything like that but it seemed to be that someone had once sat there and made something like an arrowhead.

Trumpeter Swans on the Grand River

I think being a archaeologist would be quite fun because you can use your imagination a lot. Sometimes the evidence that people left behind them isn’t enough to construct exactly what they were doing, so you have to use your own imagination to reconstruct what was happening. That makes archeology really fun.

Reported by Joshua

Finding the fossils in the slit barn wall
Checking out the cliff face
Eastern Garter Snake

WRN Kids – Birding Hike

Birding Hike

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, WRN Kids went on a birding hike along the Mill Race Trail.

Where was the outing today?
Three Bridges Road, Woolwich.

How was the weather?
Sunny and cool.

Simulated worms in mud
Mill Race Trail

What did we do?
We used different tools as beaks to see which work better with different types of pretend food. My favourite pretend food was the nectar that was made out of water.

Pick a bird beak utensil
Simulated water plants

What did you learn?
I learnt that chickadees are friendly because they eat seeds from your hands.


Reported by Jack

Waiting for Chickadees

What was your favourite part?
My favourite part was feeding the ducks.

Beaver Dam, Mill Race Trail

WRN Kids – Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

On Saturday, September 24, 2022, WRN Kids met at Huron Natural Area.

1.What was the topic today?

We went on a nature scavenger hunt.

2. What activities did we do?

We played some games about nature like Would You Rather be this or that animal. Then we went on a scavenger hunt as a group. Then we did a craft by coloring leaves that we found on our walk.


3. Why is this important to learn about?

We learned how to use all of our senses to experience nature. This is important because it teaches us more about nature than just looking at it would.

4. What was the weather like?

It started cold but then it got warm. It was sunny the whole time.

5. How did you feel when you did the activities?

My sister and I felt happy.

6. What did you like best about today?

I liked using a magnifying glass to look at ants eating a dead dragonfly.

Reported by Leia

This other dragonfly was alive.

WRN Kids – Butterfly Hike

Butterfly Hike

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, WRN Kids went on a hike with Thelma Beaubien to look for butterflies.

Today we went on a walk to look for butterflies. It was bright and sunny day and Thelma and Ron took us around private property and we saw at least 9 monarch butterflies, viceroy butterflies and netted a variegated fritillary.

We learned that monarch butterflies fly south-west for the winter to Mexico. When butterflies sleep it is called roosting and they also only “eat” liquid like water, nectar and sweat.

There were also lots of grasshoppers and we heard lots of crickets. We also saw a cool rare plant. Butterflies have really neat looking eyes.

It was very nice of Thelma to give us a copy of her book that she wrote and an informational handout.

Written by Blake and Liam

WRN Kids – Pollinators and Kites

kite flying

Pollinators and Kites

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, WRN Kids visited the Forest Heights Pollinator Patch to learn about bees, plant seeds, and fly kites.

This week at Nature Kids the topic was Pollinators and Kites. Dana Church, a local scientist who studies bees, came and spoke about her book The Beekeepers, and told us interesting facts about bees. It is important to learn about bees because many are endangered, and we need them to pollinate fruits and vegetables.

Flowers in bloom
Dana Church
Dana Church
group listening to speaker
planting seeds

We planted seeds and small plants in the Forest Heights Pollinator Patch, which is a volunteer managed garden in Meadowlane Park.

planting seeds

Then we went to fly kites in the field. The weather was warm with a slight wind which made it very good for flying kites.

Canada Anemone

Because it was the last meeting of the year we had cookies as a treat and received a book about birds. It was a fun morning outdoors.

Reported by Caroline

kite flying
kite flying
kite flying

WRN Kids – Nature Photography

Nature Photography

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, WRN Kids visited Breithaupt Park for a photography outing led by Focus On Nature.

Today, we learned about nature photography. First there was a small presentation where we learned about the elements of photography which are: Line, Shape, Form, Space, Texture, Tone, Rule of thirds, SCUFI-Shoot Close Up For Impact, and Colour which has three properties: Hue, Saturation, and Brightness.

This is important to learn about because of a couple of reasons. Here are three: To have fun, to remember interesting things, and to show people things that you like after you see them.

by Calum
people taking photos
by Jackson

If you did not bring a camera they would loan you one. Then we went outside and split into two groups. The two groups then split up and went on a walk. During the walk you could take pictures of interesting things. The weather was a bit cloudy but with some sunny spots.

by Hunter

During the activities I felt very happy. I liked taking pictures of cool things that I saw. Some examples of what I saw: Trout Lily, Bloodroot, A squirrel tail, and a deep hole. To me it was very fun. My favourite part was the walk and taking pictures.

Reported by Calum

WRN Kids – Cliffhangers

Small limestone cliff

Cliffhangers at rare – March 26, 2022

Today, we visited a cliffhanger event at RARE. It was a nature walk, guided by two of their leaders, Michelle and Istafa. Before we set out for our walk, a volunteer set up an ice breaker game for the kids. It was called cross the creek, and the coordinator drew a crosshatch grid in the dirt. You were to try to find the patches that were rocks in the creek and cross the creek. It was a fun game for the children, and the adults enjoyed trying to remember which patches were rocks and guessing the next one.

Turkey Tail
Turkey Tail
Cedar forest by river
Michelle and Istafa

Then, we went on the walk. Our first stop was to learn about the barn swallows. There was a large structure standing in the middle of a field, built to give the barn swallows a place to build their nests.

Talking at Bald Eagel statue
We also stopped at a wall of limestone, and the guides said we could look around, gently lifting logs and climbing limestone. We saw snake eggs, hibernating wasps, and even a few fossils engraved in the limestone.
Climbing limestone cliff
Limestone Cliff
Small limestone cliff
Talking at the cliff
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage

We made a stop at a swamp, and spoke about how the wetlands are so important to the ecosystem because it’s habitat for so many of the plants and animals.. We saw some skunk cabbage blooming beside the swamp as well!

Crossing water on a boardwalk

The weather was gray and it snowed a little bit, but despite that, we had a great time and the event was a complete success! We definitely recommend going and trying out the experience!

Reported by the Lee family.