In April, our local park district instituted a monthly program called “Family Nature Club.” The club meets the third Saturday of every month. I was excited to hear about this and eagerly took Philip to the inaugural session about birds.
We were there less than ten minutes.
In my eagerness, I overlooked the fact that Philip was tired and probably still recovering from a cold. He was nervous about being in a new place. He told me that he wanted to leave by leading me to the door, so that’s what we did.
I was hoping to get a second chance in May, but we had a conflict with a family birthday party. Today, however, our schedule was open and the weather cooperated, so we were able to attend.
The first interesting fact I should point out is that when I say “we,” Peter is included. I was floored when he said he would go with us. With him there, I was able to take more pictures. That was perfect since today is Nature Photography Day. I hope it still counts if there are people in the photos.
The club meets at the newest park in the district, the Ashland Fire Company Nature Center. The site had its grand opening this morning. The volunteers had made many improvements since our brief visit in April, including the completion of several trails through the nearby winds.
Louise, the volunteer who led today’s session, welcomed all the families and announced that the woods would be the site of today’s quest. Using rhyming clues, we made our way through the woods and discovered various treasures.
Before we could begin, we first had to construct our explorers’ hats. I was glad that Peter was able to help tie the string to the bowl and decorate the cap with Philip.
Philip got the giggles when I tried to tie the yarn under his chin, so his hat fell from his head. However, he actually seemed to prefer having it hang in front where he could carefully examine his creation.
Our quest took us to several features along the trail: a stand of beeches, a fallen log cut to make a path, another fallen tree being recycled by nature, a large grapevine and others. The other kids listened to the clues to figure out where we had to stop.
Once we found one of the featured sites, the kids had to search for the “treasure.” The volunteers had left plastic containers containing small plastic toys and stickers. Each child could retrieve one item at each treasure location. Philip accepted these, but wasn’t that interested in picking out a toy. He was preoccupied with the treasures of nature.
The “quest” will be posted on the park district’s website for future families to undergo. There won’t be any treasures along the way, but today’s participants helped pick a final site to hide a final treasure for future explorers. The children were also asked to compose the clue to help others find it.
Of course, if you’re lucky, you’ll discover your own treasures along the way. Peter found a turkey feather that fascinated Philip to no end.
I can’t wait until next month. Who knows what adventures await us at the next Family Nature Club.