Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Bring a pair of binoculars when you visit Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport. The kids will love getting a close look at the osprey nest.
Wendy Almeida Photo
FOR MORE information about family-oriented outdoor programs in southern Maine, try these resources:
• Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport
• Southworth Planetarium at USM, Portland
• Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Wells
• Maine Audubon
We attended a bird banding program once and the girls were fascinated with the concept of how that kind of research is conducted.
Suzanne Kahn Eder, education director at Wells Reserve, said a popular family-oriented program at the reserve is the "Life Between the Tides Walk." Families explore the "biodiversity of the intertidal zone at Laudholm Beach." The docent-led walk looks for crabs, sea stars and snails with about a mile of walking. There is another program, "Secrets of the Salt Marsh," that explores the estuary and also focuses learning on marsh habitat.
One of the special programs in July, "Flying Jewels," will explore the wonders of dragonflies and butterflies. The Reserve's natural resource specialist will explain the role the different habitats of the Wells Reserve play in the life cycles of these creature. Nets will also be available to see if participants can catch one for a close look at the fascinating insects. This program will be held July 24 at 1 p.m.
Families can also get a hands-on experience helping native species with the "Monarch Rescue." This citizen science program allows families to join a team of monarch rescuers to find and move monarch eggs and caterpillars to "safe" fields that aren't mowed in the summer. It's Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.
GILSLAND FARM, FALMOUTH
There are a variety of family-friendly programs at Maine Audubon centers around the state. A program that has been a highlight for my family has been the "Bird Walk" program at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. The Thursday morning walks are all about the early bird catching the worm since this program starts at 7 a.m. But as my kids and I can confirm, it was worth the early morning wake-up call. We have learned so much about birds, not only from the Audubon guide leading the walk, but also with the other participants. It's a program geared for novices to expert birders. The times we've attended have been a great opportunity to chat with other birding enthusiasts in a way that has been low key and educational for all ages. The cost of this program is $5/members; $8/nonmembers.
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