In this outdoor survival skills program, we will venture out onto the Ipswich River. Learn the basics of canoe safety, paddle strokes, and the river knowledge needed to travel on the water. When we stop at Perkins Island, you will be challenged to explore the area and craft your own paddle out of natural materials, and then test it out on the paddle back to the mainland. No previous canoe or outdoor skills are necessary, just a strong survival instinct!
Each 'Sense of Wonder' outing will begin with a short introduction indoors, and then we will go outside for a walk. Topics for each walk are listed below, but we will stop and investigate anything that crosses our path. Join us for one or both of these spring programs.
Do you know all the animals that you share your neighborhood with? You may be surprised to learn that many of the animals you see on a visit to the sanctuary might be living in your backyard, too. We'll hike the trails to learn how to identify the signs of aniamls that might be living in your backyard habitat and then give you the tools to make your yard more inviting to beneficial species.
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.
Kids will learn about the winged creatures that inhabit the sanctuary at this vacation week program. Spring is in full swing and all our flying friends are in a frenzy. If it has wings, we'll find it, and learn about the different ways creatures use their wings. Using binoculars, nets, and bug boxes, we'll take an up-close look at birds, dragonflies, butterflies, and other insects that make their homes at the sanctuary.
Each year on the first warm rainy night of spring, wood frogs and mole salamanders begin a mass migration to vernal pools where they breed. If you happen to be out on one of these evenings, the experience can be spectacular. Tonight, a part of the sanctuary will be transformed into a Big Night scene. Participants will take a one-hour guided walk along the Vernal Pool Trail, where they will meet some interesting characters who will share some facts and stories about themselves, vernal pools, and this special time of year.
Kids will get their hands dirty and dig into the science of soil at this April vacation session. Meet the critters of the sanctuary that call dirt home. Worms, millipedes, sow bugs, weasels, and voles are a few soil creatures that we will hope to see. Find out what it takes to make a garden grow, before preparing and planting your own take-home garden.
Wetlands are wonderful places full of fascinating animals and plants. Together we will discover the wetland habitats of the sanctuary. We'll hike to Hassocky Meadow and search for ducks, turtles, snakes, and more. We will continue our explorations at a real vernal pool and look for breeding salamanders, wood frogs, and their egg masses.
Celebrate spring by building a bluebird house with your child. We’ll supply all the materials and instruction to build a nest box for bluebirds and tree swallows. These wonderful nest boxes also attract chickadees, tufted titmice, house wrens, and woodpeckers. A short slide presentation will introduce families to the natural history and behavior of birds in Massachusetts, and we’ll discuss where and how to place your nest box. Dress for the weather because we will take a short walk to look and listen for bluebirds.
Start a new maple sugaring tradition by renting your own sugaring bucket for yourself, your family, or as the perfect gift. Join our sugaring experts on Saturday, February 23, for a two-hour interactive program and experience this lovely New England tradition.