Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall SKIP - Week 6 - Fall Ecology

Wow - what a great day we had for the last SKIP program of the Fall session! Lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures were an extra bonus!

Today's program was led by Heather Lunn, avid Friends Director/Volunteer and naturalist. We had great fun participating in a number of activities Heather had lined up to show us how plants and animals have to work really hard to get ready for winter. Despite the fact autumn can seem like a dreary and quite time of year, it's actually very busy.

We set off for a hike on the Lally Trail, where Heather had us take a good look around at the trees. A number of volunteers participated in an activity that demonstrated photosynthesis - how plants use their leaves and the sun to create sugar in the summer, which is stored in the trees for use in the winter even after their leaves have changed colour and fallen.

Next we stopped at Black Creek, where there is always something to see. The muskrats have been busy setting up for winter by creating their tell-tale push ups. We saw a beaver scent mound, too (which we learned about the previous week during our voyageur canoe trip).

Continuing along the trail we saw a chickadee (who stays here for the winter) and what would a SKIP program be without a nice fungus sighting!

The next segment of our program predominantly featured poop - uh, scat. First Heather noted deer scat, and explained how risky it was for this herbivore (plant eater) to be eating in the open field with the risk of predators about.

To emphasize the point, the next scat encountered appears to have been from a coyote - a well-known carnivore (meat eater) who has an taste for deer.

Finally, we came across what is believed to have been omnivore poop (plant and/or animal eater) - namely a bear! Betcha those three weren't all in the field at the same time.

We returned to the cosy drive shed where Heather was joined by volunteers Pat and Jane for a lively skit about migration.

Jane and Heather did a marvellous job as migrating thrushes, while Pat explained why she, as a chickadee, prefers to stay here.

 Watch out for star-like objects that are actually lights on top of towers!

We headed back outside for a lively game of migration tag - always fun!

Then it was back to the drive shed where we made two different kinds of bird feeders from recyclable materials. The first one uses plastic bottles and a stick for a perch, and it can be filled with seed.

The second one uses toilet paper rolls covered in peanut butter and then rolled in bird seed. Yum!

And that all smelled so good that we were quite thrilled when Pat, today's Skipper, brought out caramel apples for us to enjoy along with peanuts in their shells and a helping of hot chocolate. Delicious!

We had enough time for another round of migration tag before it was time for our latest batch of SKIP participants to head home. Everyone received a commemorative workbook to take home with a page based on each week's theme.

A big thank you goes out to Heather for a great program, Pat for a wonderful snack, and to our volunteers Jane, Nancy and Steph. Stay tuned for news in January about the Winter 2011 session. Thanks to all our participants and volunteers this fall. We had a blast!


  1. It just warms my Fungirl heart to read about your fungus matter what the SKIP session is about!

    Any leftover caramel apples???


  2. This looks like a lot of fun. We moved nearby. It is a beautiful spot. Great work with the children!