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.

WRN Kids – Photo Scavenger Hunt

Goldenrod Gall

The rain stopped for WRN Kids as they set out to explore and take photos at their monthly meeting on Saturday November 25.

A Goldenrod Gall was discovered and broken open to show the larva of the Goldenrod Gall Fly inside.
A Woollybear caterpillar was crossing the road and got examined before being moved out of danger.

Goldenrod Gall

It was also a great day for fungi including Turkey Tail fungus.

Turkey Tail Fungus

They turned lots of logs but decided that the salamanders were probably hibernating deeper down in the earth.

Looking for salamanders

For a full report and more photos, see the blog entry at the WRN Kids website: November 25, 2017 – Photo Scavenger Hunt

WRN Kids – Bird Banding Day

Chickadee Measurement

In spite of the rain at their monthly meeting on Saturday October 28, WRN Kids had fun with a variety of bird-related activities.

After a talk all about bird banding, the kids headed out to do some bird-watching around the Laurel Creek Nature Centre property.

Bird Watching from the Tower

In the meantime Al Woodhouse had caught a Black-capped Chickadee in a ground trap, and the kids got to see it being banded and measured.

Al Woodhouse with Chickadee
Chickadee Measurement

After almost but not quite, enticing Chickadees to eat out of their hands, they headed indoors to try a bird photo and silhouette matching activity.

Bird Matching Activity

For a full report and more photos, see the blog entry at the WRN Kids website: October 28, 2017 – Bird Banding Day

WRN Kids First Outing

Kids Hike

WRN Kids had their first outing on Saturday September 30 at Laurel Creek Nature Centre on a gorgeous autumn day.

Kids Hike

Seventeen young naturalists took to the trails to seek out common woodland, field and pond plants as well as elusive critters and evidence of their existence. Everyone was excited to find leopard and wood frogs, a tree perching great blue heron, a scurrying slew of red backed salamanders, white toothed fungi and miniature puffballs.

Bee On Aster
Great Blue Heron In Tree

For a full report and more photos see their blog at the WRN Kids website: Sept 30th 2017 – First Outing!

WRN Kids Wrap-Up

WRN Kids have wrapped up another great year. To see all the other interesting things they have been up to over the past 9 months visit their blog at https://wrnatureclub.wordpress.com/blog.

Biothon and Pot Luck Picnic - May 27 2017

We had a great time wrapping WRN Kids up for the year!  We had a small turn-out of Kids but the 4 families, 4 volunteers, 1 naturalist and 3 special guests (thanks for joining us, WRN board members Josh, Paul and Rachael!) managed to find and record exactly 105 different living things!  We're pretty proud of our work!

We spent time at the pond where we enjoyed some very jumpy amphibians and got a glimpse of a painted turtle, our only reptile.  We caught lots of dragonfly nymphs and learned about their amazing transformation from water creature to flying creature.

Remembering to keep an eye out all the time for birds (20 species!), we hunted for bugs in the field then walked through the beautiful wetland and forest investigating fungi and trying to identify plants.  We were disappointed not to find salamanders but did manage to spot a few mammals including a rabbit, a chipmunk, a few humans and evidence of deer.

We were pretty hungry by this time so we headed back to the nature centre to spread out our pot luck picnic and share the feast!  We had a great meal and chatted about new adventures for next year.

Thanks to everybody who helped make WRN Kids a great experience for Kids and their families this year.

  •  Thanks to Waterloo Region Nature for inventing and supporting WRN Kids!
  •  Thanks to Grand River Conservation Authority and the folks at Laurel Creek Nature Centre for providing a perfect place for us to meet and explore.
  •  Thanks to Garrison McCleary on the GRCA staff for being an awesome leader and teacher.
  •  Thanks to WRN Kids volunteers from the adult club; Pat, Linda, Susie, Cathi, Jenn and Matt; and to our high school student volunteers; Jotham and Linden.
  •  Thanks to Richard, Cathi and Paul for taking care of WRN Kids social media.
  •  Thanks to the WRN Kids' adults for signing your great Kids up for this club!... and then coming along with them every time!
  •  And especially, thanks to the nature-loving Kids who come out to learn more about nature.  We honestly believe you are making the world a better place.

If you were wondering about next year, it turns out there are some pretty amazing programs we haven't tried yet so looks like 2017-18 will be an all-new list of adventures!  We really hope to see lots of you back at WRN Kids!  Tell your friends and cousins and classmates!  Any kids 7 to 12 years old are welcome to come out with an adult.

Have a safe and wonderful summer exploring nature!  Looking forward to hearing about it in September!

Marg Paré
WRN Kids coordinator

Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2016

Christmas Bird Count for Kids 2016

Several WRN Kids families joined the first ever Christmas Bird Count for Kids in our area!  The wonderful folks at rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge organized this event.  Thank-you Jenna, Emily and Garrit!  We hope you do make it an annual experience!

Inside, we learned some birdwatching tips (you have to try to be quiet!), which birds we might see, and how to use binoculars.  We met David, Jim, Fraser and Jason, our bird experts and headed out in four teams.  Our leaders helped us find birds, figure out what kind they were, count how many we saw and keep track while we walked.  It was really cold but all four teams did a great job learning how to CBC!  When we came back inside the ECO Centre, we checked our lists, counted our species and had time to chat, play and warm up with some hot chocolate! 

Our final count from all 4 teams — 26 species and 364 individual birds! — will be sent to Bird Studies Canada.  We’re doing “citizen science,” when ordinary people help scientists by collecting information.  Lots of CBC’s and CBC4K’s are done in lots of places and the information helps scientists know which birds are around each year and if there are more or less of each kind.

Thanks to everybody who made this fun event happen and bravo to the brave birdwatchers of WRN Kids!

Marg Paré



CBC4Kids 2016- Results



For more photos of the event see David Gascoigne’s personal blog at: Travels With Birds.