It is often said that children are like sponges. My own kids astonish me with how quickly they soak up information and effortlessly recall it.
Evidence of this fact occurred on the ride home from the Guided Beaver Hike in which we participated at the Hartley Nature Center.
The kids and I were reflecting on what we had learned. I was struggling to recall specific facts that Jenni, the Hartley staff member who lead the hike, had shared with us. It became clear that my kids easily trounce me in learning new things. Here is what Daley and Finley recalled and recounted in less than a few minutes.
Finley (4 years old)
- “Beavers eat wood.”
- “Beavers don’t eat the [outside of the] bark. They eat the inside [of the bark] because it has more nutrients.”
- “Beavers don’t eat sap trees.”
- “Something stinks by their tail.” [We got to smell a castor sac.]
- “Beavers can’t climb trees.”
Daley (8 years old)
- “Beaver teeth are orange because they have iron in them to make them strong.”
- “Beavers eat water plants if possible because wood doesn’t have much nutrients.”
- “Beaver front teeth grow 3 inches a month.”
- “Beavers have human-like teeth in the back.”
- “Beaver houses have 2 entrances.” [To which Finley added, “In case they have an emergency or danger.”]
- “Beavers are helpful to animals who don’t like running water.”
- “The Hartley pond was two streams until they dug it out.”
- “Tischer Creek runs through Hartley.”
A Natural Classroom Learning about nature in nature makes a world of difference. The kids loved bushwhacking to see the far end of the pond, a part we had never before explored. Thanks, Jenni and Hartley Nature Center, for providing such interactive educational opportunities to community members.
An added bonus was exploring the Nature Center before the hike. While we’ve been there countless times, the live fish, turtles, and snakes always make it interesting. We also enjoyed the new interactive activities, like comparing our height to the height of various animals. Daley was as tall as an elk and Finley was as tall as a deer.
Check out Hartley Nature Center’s website for future guided hikes. It’s a great way to get outside as a family, meet new people, and expand your nature knowledge.
Don’t be surprised if your kids learn more than you do!
Have you participated in a Hartley Nature Center program? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!