Tompson Street Reservation in Gloucester, managed by Essex County Greenbelt Association, is full of rich and diverse wildlife habitat, as well as some spectacular views of Ipswich Bay. Come on this fun, full-day hike and learn about vernal pools and forest wildlife while we explore the glacial granite summit of Eagle Rock with other adventurous young adults. Don't forget a camera -- the views should be great!
Spring is the season when frogs, toads, and salamanders return to the wetlands to lay their eggs. After a short introduction in the Nature Center, where we will learn about the life cycles of these amazing creatures, we will search the sanctuary's wetlands and woodlands for salamanders and other amphibians on the move. If we're lucky, we might be able to catch a few to observe up close and then release. We'll also swing by our vernal pool, where we often find wood frog and spotted salamander eggs.
Each spring American woodcocks engage in one of nature’s most fascinating courtship displays. Here’s your chance to witness this “sky dance” up close and in-person! This program is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Meet the ranger on the deck of the visitor contact station at parking lot 1. Bring binoculars and a flashlight. Program is limited to 15 participants. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Preregistration required.
Take your 3-5 year old youngster on a good old fashioned nature discovery walk. Meet at the refuge visitor center before driving together to the head of the day's trail on the refuge (no parking fee charged). For each session, a refuge volunteer will lead the children and their caregivers on a walk to explore different aspects of the refuge: beach, dune, marsh, scrub forest, cranberry bog. Come dressed for the weather. If the weather is completely unsuitable for outdoor enjoyment, then an indoor program comprised of a story, activity and craft will be held at the visitor center instead.
Living on the coast is a constant reminder of the beauty and power of the Atlantic Ocean. Isn't it interesting that our mighty seas are also fragile and need protection? Come to Joppa Flats for a full day of indoor activities and exhibits that focus on our ocean giants, such as whales, sharks, and sea turtles. Find out where our seafood comes from, examine sand and sea shells from around the world, and participate in art activities and ocean-themed games. Learn how we can all take responsibility for sustaining the natural beauty and resources of our oceans and coastline.
Join the Trustees to celebrate the last evening of the month of March with a night hike through the dunes of the Crane Wildlife Refuge! We’ll hope for the almost-spring temperatures of the month going out like a lamb, but we’ll have a great hike even if the roaring cold lion is still around! At the end of our walk we’ll warm ourselves with hot cider around a beach fire.
Join us on a nocturnal hike through Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Rowley underneath the Hunger Moon, traditionally the snowiest time of the winter. We'll peek at the stars, learn about nocturnal animal adaptations, go on stealth walks, and investigate the behaviors that animals use to survive cold New England winter. We'll return to Joppa Flats for hot cocoa and s'mores over the fire pit.
Looking for an outdoor activity to enjoy during school vacation? Come build snow people with the Trustees! What better place to form gigantic snowballs than the rolling hills at the Crane Estate? We’ll have a contest to determine the best winter characters – which snowman is the most traditional? The most creative? The one that best represents Ipswich history? The one that best represents the Crane family? At the end of the day we’ll enjoy some hot chocolate to warm up.
Children ages 4-6 (and three year olds who are comfortable with the setup) are invited to come and play and learn with us for the next 6 Friday mornings. This class is playful, silly, and all about being a child, or a child pretending to be an animal. Each day, focus on a different one of our senses, and learn about local wild creatures that are really good at using that sense. Play games for using each sense, and imagine what it would be like to have super sense powers. Each day, create something original related to our sense exploration, and take it home.
Ipswich River's weekly homeschool classes promote an active engagement with nature through inquiry-based, hands-on environmental education. Join us as we explore the many different habitats provided by our nearly 2,000-acre sanctuary, and lay the foundation for a lifelong connection with nature. This season, we will focus on the survival skills that all animals (including humans) need to survive the harsh New England winter.