March and April are months of reawakening of our natural world.
I can almost see the springing back to life reflected in my children’s eyes. I can feel the fire in my own belly as I eagerly daydream of all of our upcoming adventures. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite springtime activities.
This can be as simple or as complex as you want. We go for nature walks and just bring binoculars. At home we have bird feeders that allow us to have an up-close and personal learning experience. We also have a bird journal where we find a picture online, print it out and paste it to a page to indicate a bird we’ve seen on our walks.
My favorite bird watching accessory is the Vermont Birds Pocket Guide. It’s a laminated colorful brochure featuring pictures of birds we’re likely to find in Vermont as well as habitats where we might find them. It’s great for the kids to quickly identify a couple of birds to watch for on your nature walks.
Another favorite resource is the website sponsored by Cornell University, Allaboutbirds.org. Here you can listen to different bird calls as well as watch live camera feeds of nesting birds around the nation.
Where: One of my favorite places to go early spring is the Ethan Allen Homestead through the Wetlands Walk.
You’ll see the arrival of the Red Winged Blackbird perched territorially on a Pussy Willow. Another great resource is Audubon Vermont which offers several bird programs including bird monitoring walks that can that ignite the fire in kids to explore feathered friends.
2. Exploring the spring ephemeral wildflowers
Wildflowers are like winter’s gift to us after long days of cold. These wildflowers are perennials that are found in woodlands that sprout in early spring and bloom before the canopy of leaves blocks their sunlight. Though their display of color is brief (a couple of weeks at most) the impact is spectacular. Some favorite ephemerals are Trillium, Trout Lilly, Dutchman’s Breeches, Bloodroot and Jack in the Pulpit.
There’s a beautifully illustrated field guide that is perfect for the kids as it is a small book with large full color pictures called Wildflowers of Vermont by Kate Carter.
Where: My favorite place to discover these beauties is Niquette Bay State Park. Remember, these elusive visitors won’t jump out at you like a friendly 1 yr old Labrador Retriever. You may find them hiding just off the trail, just poking through some last fall’s leaves. Take the walk slow, at a 2 yr old pace and you’ll be graced with the reward of these treasure’s mysteries.
Commit to spending your first Saturday in May (this year is May 7, 2016) helping pick up debris and trash from our beautiful cities and towns. Kids love this activity since it involves gloves and treasure (or trash) hunting. Green Up Vermont provides garbage bags as well as gloves for clean up.
Where: You can participate with a group or just pick up a trash bag and go out on your own. I have been pairing up with the Winooski Valley Parks District for the last 2 years with our Young Adventurers Club and cleaning up Salmon Hole on the Winooski River in Burlington. We’re usually out for about 2 hours. All relevant information about Green Up Day can be found on the Green Up Vermont website.