The spring session of SKIP got off to a splashy start with a program on wetlands presented by interpreter Tim Wood - who really gets into his work!
We started with introductions and learned that the new bunch of SKIP kids had lots of great ideas about what they wanted to see as part of the program (snakes, frogs, turtles) and what they didn't want to see (bugs - specifically blackflies!). We did our best to deliver!
Tim started with a demonstration using a water bottle that helped to explain just exactly how much fresh, clean water we have on Earth when one considers factors such as ice, groundwater, clouds and pollution. It's not as much as you would think! He then showed us how wetlands play an important role in keeping our water fresh and clean while helping to protect against flooding and drought and providing food, shelter and breeding grounds for a huge range of species. What better way to demonstrate this then by using a frying pan, whisk, sponge, cushion, soap, baby picture and coffee filter, of course!
Then we set off for the marsh located behind the Lally Homestead at Black Creek, where we were lucky enough to see a whole bunch of critters and signs of critters: red-winged blackbirds, leopard frogs, a beaver lodge and muskrat push-ups, a garter snake, ducks, a great blue heron and a crow. We heard geese in the distance along with the banjo sound of a green frog and a variety of other birds. Oh, and, well, there were bugs - a whole fleet of beetles and some blackflies that weren't too interested in biting.
Tim had a bag of tricks with him, too, and was able to show us map turtle and snapping turtle shells and demonstrate different frog calls with his props. He scooped some water from the marsh in a jar and showed us the teeny tiny treasures inside. As we got ready to head back up to the clubhouse, Tim showed us just how wet marshes can be - he toppled in! Well, he mentioned that sometimes happens - wink wink!
Back at the clubhouse we sat on the grass and enjoyed a snack while learning a bit more about the creatures that call Murphys Point home, such as the porcupine that was such a fixture during SKIP over the winter. Then we played the wetlands version of the game "Duck Duck Goose" - "Frog Frog Turtle" before heading for home.
Thanks to our great volunteers this week: Judy (Skipper), Jane, Pat, Cindy and Beth. We had a fun time with Tim, too, who will be back for some of the other sessions. Next week we plan to explore building fires and cooking outdoors - stay tuned!