We had worked hard this week, including Friday morning, and we really needed to get out of the house and into nature. We studied evaporation with Annika this week for science, so I thought a trip to the Cedar River Watershed Education Center was in order. My kids both enjoy the display there. They have tubes and pipes with air flowing through. You put in a little ball and it flies off to another spot. First you get evaporated, then condensed into a cloud. Then you put it into the Precipitator, and you come out either as rain, snow, ground water, plants, or rivers. The kids run back and forth from one place to the next. It was a good way to practice the vocabulary we had learned earlier in the week. We also saw how much water is in each of us, and watched a video about the watershed and how it works.
We played around with some of the other exhibits, and then checked out a backpack full of fun stuff to do on a walk. I have found this summer that having a few simple props really helps to focus their exploration. Binoculars, a map, and especially the little plastic magnifying boxes all make good props. We stopped outside the Education Center to look in the little pond, and found tadpoles, duckweed, and stoneflies or mayflies. Then we hopped down the path to the lake, where we spent a bit of time exploring there. We saw a pile of elk scat on the way.
We were lucky enough to watch an osprey dive down to the lake, catch a fish, and take off with it in its talons, away to its nest. It was so exciting! We found some bugs and feathers, and Annika waded in the water. We used the binoculars to watch hikers on the top of Rattlesnake Ledge.
This was a fun, quick little trip. It was just enough time out of the house, and met my goal of getting us into nature and reinforcing what we have been learning. The kids got some wiggles out, and I cleared my head a bit. I’m grateful we have places like this to go to!