14 January 2009

Winter Break Jr. Naturalist

Each spring, summer, and winter break we host a Jr. Naturalist camp for 9 to 14 year olds. I usually have a wait list and a full crowd but this year we only had 4 kids, must be a sign of the economic times! Despite our small numbers we still had an excellent couple of days of exploring Green Cay and playing lots of fun nature-related games.

We saw the baby Alligators and the adults out on the 1 mile trail.

And those sharp-eyed little kids even found our resident Bobcat hanging out on the berm. We have volunteers at Green Cay who have over 300 hours working at the center but still haven't seen the Bobcat so these guys were super excited about their find. I took some really bad photos below threw my binoculars.

Can you see the Bobcat on the berm? Let's take a closer look shall we. Click the picture below to see our blurry Bobcat on the berm.

The main purpose was a bird walk and my crew found and identified over 30 species. They even filled out some species profiles with pictures to boot. I really love my job but the highlight has to be taking kids outside and having them interact with their surroundings.

We wrapped up our day with an owl pellet dissection in the lab. The kids are always hesitant about getting their hands dirty but once they start picking out those bones they are in it full swing. They go from not wanting to touch the pellet to begging me to take home their rodent skull. Unfortunately, I can't allow them to scare their parents with their little mammalian bones and everything must be thrown away but at least they have fun and learn something in the process.

The next Jr. Naturalist program will run during Palm Beach County's spring break. It will only be two days but I hope that the kids come out in greater numbers. Regardless, I know it will be one of my favorite weeks of the year. Check out the Green Cay website to find out what kind of programs we offer to the public.


Sharon said...

Looks like the 4 that signed up had a unique and wonderful time!

dAwN said...

What a wonderful camp...too bad their weren't more kiddies...oh well

and a Bobcat..now that is too cool..