WRN Kids – Predator Prey Game

Predator Prey Game – Nov 27, 2021

This month, Nature Kids met at RARE in Cambridge. We started out by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with the life cycle. If we won the rock/paper/scissors challenge, we moved to the next stage of the life cycle. We played with both the butterfly and the frog life cycles.

We each were assigned to be either a herbivore, an omnivore or a carnivore, and we had to survive by getting food and water. There were stations in the woods where we could get food and water.

Food

As a group we walked to an area called the Salamander Forest where we played the Predator Prey Game. This was a lovely forest off the path with lots of space to run around.

Water

If we got food and water, we could get extra “lives” (represented by popsicle sticks) for our species. If we were eaten by those above us in the food chain, we had to give them one of our “lives.” It was a sunny, cold day, but we stayed warm because we did a lot of running around the forest trying to survive.

Carnivore -> Omnivore -> Herbivore
Watch out for the human disrupter in the orange vest!
Play Video

At the end of the game, we talked about whether our species survived well, was endangered, or was overpopulated. If there are imbalances in the food chain, it affects the whole food chain. We ended the morning by talking about what we could do to take care of animals and their habitat. What are some things we can do to help endangered species?

 

Giselle Carter
WR Nature Kids coordinator

WRN Kids – Fun Day of Bird Watching

Fun day of Bird Watching.

On Saturday November 6, we went bird watching at Hillside Park in Waterloo.  The weather was nice, it was cool but no rain.  At first, we played an ice breaker game – would you rather.  It was a fun game. 

We saw a few squirrels running around.  We learned an interesting fact about black squirrels, they are unique to Southern Ontario, and not found in many places outside this area.  There were a lot of squirrel nests in some of the trees.

We saw a few American Robins in the top of some trees.

David was telling us how each year the bird population is declining.  This is why it is important to enjoy and learn about the birds around us.  There were a few Cardinals out as well.  The male Cardinals are bright red, and the females are a light brown in colour.

We had a special guest, David Gascoigne (a bird expert) who led the group.

We learned about invasive plants such as Buckthorn.  The Chickadees were out singing to us and flying around.  They are David’s favourite bird in Ontario, and mine as well.

There were also lots of Mallard ducks swimming in the creek as we crossed over the bridge.  The green head of male Mallard ducks are pretty colour.   We saw a blue Herron flying.

I really enjoy learning about birds and hope to go bird watching again! 
 

Reported by:     Hunter

WRN Kids – Scavenger Hunt

A report of the first WRN Kids outing of the 2021-2022 season on Saturday, September 25, 2021:

We went on an outdoor scavenger hunt at Huron Natural Area to find things in nature. It was sunny but not too hot, a perfect day to go on a walk.

Before we went out to look for things on the list we played two games. The first game was called builders and dozers. It was adults versus kids and we tied the first game but the kids won the second game. Then we got a parachute and bounced a stuffy up and down until it went flying off the parachute.

After the games, we went out with our parents along the trails to find things on the list before time ran out. 

My mom and I made it back to the meeting place in time to talk about what we found. Some of the pictures that the adults took were really cool. 

Only one family found an item on the list called Jack-in-the-pulpit. We were the only family that found an apple tree.

 
Doll's Eyes / White Baneberry

My favourite part was deep in a forest area where there were many different mushrooms that looked like plates with dirt on the top. On the bottom, they had skinny white gills. We got a little bit lost and found lots of new trails we’d never been on before. 

Jack-in-the-pulpit Berries
Thank you for reopening the WRN Nature Kids because it’s really fun and interesting.
 

Reported by:     Cohen

WRN Kids – Snowshoeing

On Saturday February 29th we went snowshoeing at Laurel Creek Nature Centre in Waterloo. We learned that snowshoes were first used by Indigenous people. The first snowshoes were made out of wood and parts sourced from animals. Snowshoes are useful to help you walk on snow, without them on you would sink into the snow.

There was lots of snow on the ground that day. The weather was good, it was cold but the sun was out. We went snowshoeing in the forest. The forest was beautiful to walk through. I was really happy to go snowshoeing. We played a tag game with our snowshoes on. It was fun

We also got to feed the chickadees and have them land on us.  
 

Reported by:     Hunter     Age 7

WRN Kids – Christmas Bird Count for Kids

On January 25th 2020, Waterloo Region Nature Kids participated in the annual bird count at RARE on Blair road in Cambridge. We met in the old barn and got divided into groups of a couple of families and a bird leader.

We had lots of fun walking around in the slushy snow with our binoculars and counted lots of birds. Our group was called the “peregrine falcons” and we spotted lots of birds which our bird leader, David Gascoigne, helped us identify including black capped chickadees, cardinals, American crows, downy woodpeckers, mallards, canada geese, common goldeneyes and TWO BALD EAGLES (one juvenile and one adult).

White-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee

We kept count of the type and number of birds on our clipboard. The data collected by us and all of the other people doing bird counts across North America will be used to understand the bird population from year to year.

We finished off with hot chocolate, marshmallows and Timbits in the house next to the old barn. It felt good to warm up before going home.

Reported by Eric

Photos and results chart courtesy of rare.

WRN Kids – Sustainable Living and Indigenous Land Use

On Saturday, November 30th , 2019, the WRN kids went to Rare Conservation Area in Cambridge to learn about Sustainable Living and Indigenous Land Use.
 
Checking the slit barn walls for fossils
Some of the slit barn wall fossils
The morning was cloudy and cold but we were by the trees so it blocked out most of the wind.
 
Our group walked to the gardens first.  We went inside a greenhouse where kale can grow year-round.  It was so warm inside. 
 
We saw a goat pen that is used in the summertime to stop invasive Phragmites plants from growing. It looked like the Phragmites was cut but it was really the goats eating it all up!  
 
Then we saw the Indigenous Food Garden where a lot of fruits and vegetables are grown for the Food Bank. After that my group saw the markers for a Longhouse where several First Nation families would live together.  We learned that there are very few artefacts left because they used natural materials that biodegrade over time.  
 
Longhouse markers
North House
On our walk back we saw a strange opening in the hill.  We learned it was a root cellar that the early settlers used to keep their foods cool.  How “cool” is that?
 
Our last stop was a look around inside “North House”, which is a small house that uses the sun to power it.  Everything inside looked like it was from the future including a bed which is dangling from 4 wires in the ceiling and has a remote control to move it up and down.
 

For the second half of our morning there we walked close to the river. A local archeologist showed us some samples of arrowheads and clay pottery that were found in this area. He told us that the Grand River used to flow over all of this area 12000 years ago. Mastodons roamed nearby too.

Pottery fragments
We learned that the people who have lived in our area over thousands of years knew what to do to survive.  Everything they needed came from the land around them and there was enough for everyone.
 
Laertes

WRN Kids – Nature Photography

Saturday October 19, 2019
 
On Saturday morning we photographed Huron Natural Area for nature club. The fall colours were beautiful! First, we learned how to take a photograph. We learned about the art elements: line, texture, colour, form, tone and shape. We saw some cool photographs. Next, the photographers from Focus on Nature showed the group how to use a camera. Then we went outside to take photos. We got to see plants, animals, a pond and the forest. We took our photos paying attention to the art elements that we learned. The best part of the day was being outdoors exploring and taking pictures. 
 
By Alice
Age 9
 
Photos by Ada and Alice

WRN Kids – Pond Study

On the last Saturday in September, the Nature Kids group met for the first time. We started out by playing a few games to get to know other families.

Our topic for the day was pond life and the diversity of animals that live in the pond. Jean Luc, our naturalist, told us that only 5 % of all animals have spines like us! We don’t know as much about invertebrates so that is what we looked for in the pond. Jean Luc showed us how to use nets properly and we worked in groups to collect pond creatures.

It was really fun to catch different kinds of animals – we found some pretty interesting ones.

We brought them back to learn to identify what we found. We found nymphs, beetles, minnows and crayfish to name a few. At the end of our time together, we took turns sharing with the group what our favourite finds were.

Immature Large Milkweed Bugs

We look forward to seeing everyone next month to learn about nature photography!

WRN Kids – Fire and Fireflies

On Saturday, June 8, WRN kids got to learn all about fireflies! It was a gorgeous night. When we got to Laurel Creek, we saw two deer!

While we waited for the sun to set, we had a camp fire. We tried to roast the perfect marshmallow, but many got burnt. They still tasted good!

We caught really cool bugs and put them in a bug apartment. We saw a raccoon scurry through the field. We played catch while we waited for dark.

After our fire, we hiked to the storm management pond. We heard green frogs and tree frogs. We saw a bat. We waited for it to get dark. We noticed orange flashes, they were fireflies! The male fireflies flash to impress the females. We actually caught some. They only live for a couple of weeks. We have never seen a firefly before, it was awesome.

Even though it was way past our bedtime, it was worth it. We hope to have more fun with fireflies again!
By Ada and Alice

 

​​​Thanks to Ada and Alice, sisters who are WRN Kids members, for a great report!

This special evening program was the wrap-up for our 2018-19 year. Thank you to David O’Reilly, our naturalist this time who built a great fire and helped us discover lots of cool things. Thanks to Mary-Anne Cain for coordinating our programs at Laurel Creek Nature Centre.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped out over the year: Linden Imeson Jorna, Linda Dutka, Pat Bigelow, Zack Stevens, Kristi Neufeld, Cathy McKerron, and Giselle Carter who will be WRN Kids coordinator for 2019-2020. Also, much appreciation to Cathi Stewart for putting Kids on Facebook and to Paul Bigelow for putting us on the WRN website, managing registrations, and doing many other jobs.

And, as usual, thanks to the families who were part of WRN Kids this year! We love your enthusiasm about nature! Don’t forget to sign up for the fall!

Marg Paré
WRN coordinator 2018-19

WRN Kids – Turtles

Today’s topic was turtles. We played a game where some of us were turtles and the other ones were cars. I was a painted turtle. I learned that turtles have trouble crossing roads.

We did a turtle circle. The turtles were Shelldon, a painted turtle, and Franklin, a red-eared slider. Shelldon is covered with red and smaller than Franklin. Shelldon was really fast and Franklin was kind of fast.

We went outside and saw frogs at the pond. We saw one green frog and lots of leopard frogs. We saw a turtle nesting area by the pond, which looked like a giant sand pile. Turtles lay their eggs in sand. I felt wet by the pond because it was raining. It started light and then got hard and then there was no rain. It was crazy!

We went back inside and the kids made turtle crossing signs. They are to keep people from killing turtles by running them over. The grown ups made turtle nesting boxes.

I felt happy about today because I learned a lot about turtles. I liked being a turtle in the game and that was my favourite part of the day.

Coralie – WRN Kids member

WRN Kids – Tree Planting

On Sunday April 28, 2019, WRN Kids families planted trees at Laurel Creek Nature Centre. The trees (donated by WRN) were planted in a section of the forest which borders “the hole in the donut”. Loss of ash trees to borers had thinned out this part of the forest, and if the ill-advised proposed development goes ahead, this forest will see increased stress.

For lots more photos and a report on the event, visit the WRN Kids blog at: April 28, 2019 – Tree Planting

WRN Kids & Teens – SpruceHaven

SpruceHaven Barn

On Saturday May 4, 2019, WRN Kids and WRN Teens were invited to SpruceHaven Farm to watch the bird-banding and see the Barn Swallow project with David Gascoigne. The Kids families then went with botanist Jenn McPhee to learn about wildflowers.

Dutchman's Breeches
Red Trillium

… and the Kids found salamanders!

Eastern Red-backed Salamander

WRN Teens went with Sandy Hill, one of the owners of the farm, to plant trees and then they picked up garbage beside the highway.

For a full report on the bird-banding with lots of photos, see David Gascoigne’s blog at: Bird Banding and Annual Visit of Waterloo Region Nature Kids and Teens to SpruceHaven

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.

IMG_2722

IMG_2725

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

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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.