Each week the activities are different, but all include a scavenger hunt by canoe.
Approximately 14 kids, along with a parent or grandparent, participated in the first adventure. The group learned about a watershed, collected and identified some water “bugs,” made grass caterpillars and butterflies using chromatography. The canoe trip along the shore of the WACF’s property on Lake Wawasee allowed the kids to find adult versions of the water bugs found.
The morning started with Pam Schumm conducting a group activity of building a watershed. The activity included adding chocolate sprinkles, cocoa, cooking oil, food coloring, sponge, and pieces of fish net. Each item represented what is found on land in a watershed — animal waste, sewage, soil, oil, runoff from the land, fertilizers, wetlands. Spray bottles were used to make it rain showing how water flows after it rains.
The participants then divided into groups where the remainder of the morning was spent creating unique crafts, or searching for water bugs.
One group took coffee filters and with the use of markers and water, used chromatography to create butterflies. Another group poured a potting soil and grass seed mixture into a nylon stocking and created a grass caterpillar, adding antennas and eyes.
The water bug search appeared to be the favorite of those attending. Tadpoles, minnows, damselfly and dragonfly larva were found and numerous other water critters they worked to identify.
The Wetland Adventures For Kids is held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. every Thursday morning in July. There’s no fee and no registration required. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and to bring a life jacket for the canoe scavenger hunts. A parent or adult should accompany the kids.
The adventure is led by Schumm with a group of volunteers. Volunteers for the first event included Nancy Nelson, Kaz and Stephanie Szynal, Cindy Peterson, Sherrie Swank, Kim Nguyen, Doug Yoder and Dan Berkey.
Each adventure is independent. Attend one or all the remaining adventures.
Upcoming adventures include:
July 14 — Determine when water is too polluted to drink, play a game to learn about camouflage, make some bird-feeders and a canoe trip with scavenger hunt.
July 21 — Build a watershed and discuss pollution and how to protect the watershed, collect and identify some invasive and native species, make wild flower seed balls and participate in the canoe scavenger hunt.
July 28 — Participate in an activity to identify sources of water pollution and discuss how to clean up the water, learn to identify some trees, make leaf rubbings and a nature collage. During this canoe trip look for biodiversity.
The events are held at the WACF Levinson-LaBrosse Education Center, 11586 N. SR 13S, Syracuse.