April 1, 2019
Young Naturalist Activities
Posted by: Cohen Carpenter
Getting the kids in the great outdoors, learning and exploring, is one of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of the job. Not only do we want them to appreciate it like we do, but also, they need it! Especially today, where being connected tot the natural world has become increasingly difficult. Plus, they’ll soon be the ones responsible for taking care of things. So, take the kids outside more. Better yet, bring them to Little St. Simons Island.
Here’s what we’ve been up to with some of these young stewards.
*^Naturalists Katy and Rock leading a nature journaling program. Here the kids are encouraged to reflect on the plants and animals they’ve observed around the island and make notes, sketches, paintings, and any other creative depictions they come up with. They often use field guides and things they’ve collected in the field for reference. Other creative endeavors often come about once we pull out the arts and crafts supplies, though. With shorebird nesting season fast approaching, some of these kids made signs to inform beach-goers of the “nesting in progress” and advise caution in walking near nesting habitat.
Orienteering is a new program in the repertoire. This is not just a kid program, however, and is a great team building exercise. Groups first learn the basics and then set out as teams to work through a course, hitting checkpoints using only a compass and a list of clues.
*^Katy explains how to use a compass, working through some example scenarios before setting off.
*^The kids determining the length of their paces. (Unicorn suits not included)
*^And of course, we like to play in the water. Here, the kids are crabbing from the dock. The blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is a common crustacean in Georgia’s tidal waters, feeding on fish, shrimp, and snails, while being a favorite meal of bonnetheads (Sphyrna tiburo), a small shark species. If we catch enough and want a marsh-to-table snack, the kitchen cooks them up for us and we’ll usually have them at social hour.
Across the many other opportunities for exploration and adventure with kids, in general we like to get in the woods, out on the beach, and everywhere in between picking up the creepy-crawlies and getting dirty. You know… the way it ought to be. In fact, one might argue that we ourselves are kids cleverly disguised as adults. Either way, it’s an honor and a treat to spend time with young minds and such large imaginations.