John teaches the kids about the ‘ant lions’
Ayala and Caitlin enjoy their time at the Refuge!
Stephanie, Cait and the Twins sing along with the campfire songs!
Another fun evening at the Refuge!
Alexandra and Stephanie had luck on their side last Friday. All day long the weather looked cloudy, dreary, grey and bleak. It really looked like rain. Will it rain? Will the campfire be canceled? Around 4:30pm the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds and showed itself.
We had a great time at the Refuge! When we first got there, we walked over to the milkweed patch. There is a large patch of common milkweed in front of the headquarters building. Stephanie, Alexandra and I started turning over leaves looking for signs of monarch caterpillars and eggs. As I scanned the patch, I saw plants that were obviously eaten. “Let’s look there!” We went over to the nibbled on plants and there they were! Four tiny monarch caterpillars, probably first instars. One of them still had the black face mask of a one day old caterpillar. So cool!
Next we went over to the campfire site. Barry, Pete, Christine and Debbie were waiting to start. They are a few of the wonderful people who volunteer for the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. Barry instructed the group of families to take a nature walk first, then come back for the campfire and singing. The girls were very excited and could not contain their smiles. 🙂
We all had a nice walk down to Gull Pond and Gull Pond Tower. See if you can find Gull Pond by clicking on the map here. Along the way we saw many red-winged blackbirds, great egrets and catbirds. The kids never got tired of pointing out another bird. The fog began to roll back in as we made our way back along Gull Pond Road. By the time we got back to the campfire, the fog was in and the temperature had dropped. That was okay because we had the fire and friends to keep us warm. Axavier D. and his mom came and brought marshmallows and sticks on which to roast them. What a nice treat! We sang songs and danced and laughed. Everyone roasted marshmallows and ate their burnt treats until they couldn’t eat anymore. As we started to sing the last song, the gnats found us and started to get in our eyes, ears, noses and hair. Barry noticed our distress and ended the songs.
Pete and the girls dance and sing to the “The Blubber Song.”
Yummy! Nothing tastes quite as good as marshmallows roasted over an open fire.
Everyone had a wonderful time at the Refuge. I hope more of you will visit the Refuge and see for yourself all that it has to offer. Come for a hike or a bike ride. Bring your binoculars and see how many egrets you can see. Take a slow walk down to Gull Pond. Feel the wind blowing across your face. Breathe and listen. Smile.
We took our second walk to the swamp today to go birdwatching with the first graders. Today was a blustery day, quite windy and about 72 degrees. The kids in Mrs. Primas’ class were as excited as my class was. I always think my class won’t want to go to the swamp again and again, but they never get tired of it. Then again, neither do I. 🙂
We had an amazing time! Ms. Primas always brings the birds to us when we birdwatch at the swamp. One time when we took one of her classes we saw a family of geese and their six goslings! Another time we saw a large flock of cedar waxwings flitting and chirping in the trees. Today we saw a bunch of great egrets and red-winged blackbirds. The class photographer (Malachi) was snapping away the entire time. His work is posted here. I believe this young man has an eye for photography. He definitely takes much better photos than I. Great photographs, Malachi!
I am totally and utterly amazing at this photo! I tried all the different settings, Macro, Supermacro, flash on, flash off…I took probably a dozen photos of the nymph today. All blurry. And you, future entomologist, Math Whiz, Monarch Butterfly Watcher, YOU take this FANTASTIC CLOSEUP OF THE GREEN DARNER NYMPH! ARGGHHH! I am so impressed with your photo and so frustrated with my lack of photographic skills. *sigh* Nonetheless, here is your photo, Malachi. Truly amazing. And a photo of you as we get ready to move our 2nd 12-spotted skimmer to a safe place for the evening. I hope the weather is better tomorrow and we can release her. I hope for some sunshine. I hope…
All of us love to read the latest Ranger Rick Magazine that comes out every month. Stories about birds, pictures of whales and tigers and koalas, oh my! National Wildlife Federation has a new section to their website called ‘Ranger Rick’s Green Zone.‘ Please visit the RR Green Zone and take the Ranger Rick Pledge to protect wildlife! And while you are there, try out the Silly Story Maker, take a Green IQ Quiz and so much more!