Kids Learn From Misunderstood Mammals

By KBJR News 1

September 20, 2010 Updated Sep 21, 2010 at 10:33 AM CST

Young naturalists got the chance to get a good look at rodents, bats and moles at a recent free program at Gooseberry.
"That one is called a shrew, a masked shrew, look at how long its tail is. "Wooah!"

Stephanie Erlandson an outdoor educator from Wolf Ridge Environmental learning center offered the Small Mammal class to get kids interested in critters. She didn't have to work too hard, like most kids, this crew has a natural interest in anything creepy and crawly.

"The nose is shaped like a star."
"It is?"
"Yea eeeew! Laughs..."

The youngsters got to learn about how the small mammals use their habitat to keep warm. They stashed hot water bottles in the area and were asked to try to keep them warm until the end of the class.

"Because it's in the sun. "What else did you do to keep it warm?"
"Put blankets on it... I put leafs on it."

Real animals were also observed and their behavior recorded.

"Tell me two things you saw

the chipmunks do."
"It climbed and it ran... oh cool... so do you guys think that our presence there changed what it was doing?"
"(all respond)...Yes..."

Pure research aside ... few argue it is beneficial to get kids outside on a beautiful day.

"We live in such a gorgeous area and there is so much to see up here it's time to get away from the video games and t.v. and get out and interact with what we've got."

"50 years ago people or even kids could identify hundreds of different plant species and now we can identify hundreds of different company logos and now we're losing that knowledge and it's really sad."

At least this group of kids learned that not every mouse is connected to a computer.
At Gooseberry falls state park, I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

Gooseberry Falls state park still offers several weekend nature programs.

www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_gooseberry_falls/index.html

Fall 2010 events:

September 24 (Friday)
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm (ongoing) EAB ~ Nature Cart
EAB - these three little letters stand for Emerald Ash Borer, the little beetle that has caused a lot of grief. Find out this
little nuisance and what you can do to help out Minnesota's trees! Hear ongoing mini-talks located along the trail to the falls.
7:30 pm - 8:15 pm The Way of the Wolf
Take a look at the world through the eyes of a wolf! Learn about wolf ecology and behavior, as well as the history of
wolf-human interactions. Meet in the Lady Slipper Lodge.

September 25 (Saturday)
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Kids Nature Program ~ Small Mammals
Fun nature activity for elementary-age children. Meet at the Children's Theater, outside the Visitor Center.
3:15 pm - 4:15 pm (ongoing) Weasel Family ~ Nature Cart
Learn how otters, ermines, badgers and wolverines are adapted to survive in Minnesota’s wilderness. Touch and see sample
furs and skulls, and test your detective skills to match the weasel to its prey! Stop by the Nature Cart, located along the trail
between the Visitor Center and the waterfalls.
7:30 pm - 8:15 pm Frogs & Snakes of the North Shore
From freezing solid to mosquito lunches to water pollution indicators, frogs and snakes are fascinating
creatures! Come and learn more at the Lady Slipper Lodge. Presented by Wolf Ridge Environmental
Learning Center naturalist.

September 26 (Sunday)
10:30 am - 11:30 am (ongoing) Weasel Family ~ Nature Cart
Learn how otters, ermines, badgers and wolverines are adapted to survive in Minnesota’s wilderness. Touch and see sample
furs and skulls, and test your detective skills to match the weasel to its prey! Stop by the Nature Cart, located along the trail
between the Visitor Center and the waterfalls.
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (ongoing) EAB ~ Nature Cart
EAB - these three little letters stand for Emerald Ash Borer, the little beetle that has caused a lot of grief. Find out this
little nuisance and what you can do to help out Minnesota's trees! Hear ongoing mini-talks located along the trail to the falls.
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Kids Nature Program ~ Terrific Trees !
Fun nature activity for elementary-age children. Meet at the Children's Theater, outside the Visitor Center.

October 9 (Saturday)
10:30 am - 12:00 pm Old CCC Camp ~ guided hike
Take a step back to the 1930's on this living history hike through the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Gooseberry
Falls State Park. Find out what life was like at the park while it was being made! Meet at the Art Column outside the
Visitor Center.

October 22 (Friday)
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Full Moon Walk ~ Hunter's Moon
The October full moon is known as the Hunter's Moon, so this walk will focus on predators and their prey. Learn
how to identify nocturnal hunters - especially birds and mammals that hunt in the fall and winter - and the complexities involved
in finding their at night. Meet in the Lady Slipper Lodge

Presented by Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center naturalist
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Everyone is Welcome
Outdoor education activities and interpretive services may be subject to change .
Please check with the park for details.

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