Since the BRFAL chapter had worked closely with Tiff before, she called on us to see if we could help out with some nature related activities for the girls for Saturday afternoon. Of course, no problem for our willing BRFAL team! We quickly gathered our team of experts. We decided we would do some slithery snake training, a nature hike, and then some sweet honey bee training and followed up by flittering Monarch butterfly training.
Our snake team, consisting of the Fredericksen family, Nell, Todd and Neil assisted by Steve Johnston, arrived with 4 cloth bags that seemed to be alive. Well they were alive. Each bag had a live snake inside. The tension among the girls mounted but Nell quickly soothed them with snake facts that quickly allayed their fears. Before the snake training was over virtually all the girls at least touched the snakes and several allowed the snakes to wrap around their arms or necks!
Then we needed to burn off some tension and went out some fresh air and a nature hike lead by our resident tree expert Kathy Scott. Kathy taught the girls how to identify trees in the winter time when leaves are down and how to identify poison ivy (hairy) vines from grape vines and honeysuckle vines. She told them about “snags” which are dead trees in the forest and why they are beneficial to the life cycle of many forest creatures.
So now back inside for honey bee training by Kathy Scott and Monarch training by Meg and Rich Brager. The girls learned how the honey bees make their honey and how it is harvested. Everyone got to taste some honey. They also got to see the protective suit that bee folks use to avoid being stung and one lucky girl got to try it on.
The girls then learned about the life cycle of Monarch butterflies including the egg always laid on milkweed, the 5 stage caterpillar “instar” process, the pupa phase and finally the butterfly phase. Each girl was given some milkweed seeds and instructions to plant their own milkweed. They were then told about the multi-thousand mile migration that the Monarchs do. We then went outside to do out own “mini-migration”. Each girl was given a Monarch replica and instead of migrating 2200 miles (the distance from the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico to the 4H center), we measured out 2200 inches or about 183 feet. Needless to say, our migration was much faster with much more laughter than the actual Monarch migration.
As the training session ended the girls gave us BRFAL members a rousing “THANK YOU” which was very much appreciated. A good time was had by all.
|Lunch with the girls|
|Nature walk with Kathy|