Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cub Scout Outing:learning about God's other creatures...wildlife

My wife and I tagged along with our son Jacob's Cub Sout troop as we visited Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and took in some snowshoeing and learning about the animal life in their natural habitat. Five Rivers is one of only three such places in New York State, which is operated by NYS Dept. of Envitonmental Conservation.
We started the outing inside the education building where one of ENCON's staff educators thouroughly descrided, to the boys, the natural habitat of such animals as racoons, deer, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, squirrels, mice, birds, beavers, bears, etc. She also showed them, using a teaching tool called a "Snow Blanket," which is an actual white blanket with different animal footprints drawn onto it. The children learned that each animal has its own, unique set of footprints that no other animal group shares (by design or by chance?).They also learned to identify animals by their droppings, called "Scat" (aka poop). Along with their own unique footprints, each animal group has its own poop pattern (yah, we humans have our own duo of identifying tracks too).
After learning about animals and their tracks, we donned snow shoes and took to the trails, where the scouts actually got to track some of the footprints and scat they had heard about. We ended the outing with hot cocoa and cookies at the education center.
We had such a great time that we vowed to return. My family and I are even thinking about joining as members so that we can come back often and maybe plan a church group outing.