Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Carden Nature Festival, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario

This past Saturday we headed to the Carden Nature Festival.
I wanted to sign up for some of their workshops but knew getting the girls up early enough to drive the 1 1/2hrs to get there before 9:00 was not going to happen; especially since they have had restless sleeps the past few nights with a cold. So instead after waking up at 9:00 we got ready and arrived at the festival around noon. Our first stop was the family fun fest and the Scales Nature Park display was the first stop.
The girls loved our visit there last fall and were eager to see the snakes again.

 Next Aayla wanted to get her face painted.
 I spoke with Sonia who is part of the local weavers guild about where to buy roving for needle felting and she offered to show me how to dye roving sometime which I may have to take her up on!

Then the girls headed to the art table where they made some leaf rubbings and a pair of binoculars.

Then they entered the art in the forest drawing contest. They found themselves a comfy place to sit and started their drawings.

 This is Aayla's spider in the forest.
Sierra drew a beautiful picture of an owl in a tree, with a Pegasus, 3 fairies, and a bee but she put it in the contest box before I got a picture of it finished

We saw a mini bee hive. Below Aayla is sniffing the holes in the sides as the honey smelled wonderful!
We sat and had our lunch and then we still had a bit of time before the bug safari so we went inside to see some of the displays. Sierra read all the names and the lady handed her the cards and asked her to put them back where they went and she got them all right.
 Sierra loved how soft the hat was woven from Musk-ox hair. We also learned that the Musk-ox protect their babies by the adults in the heard circling the babies to keep them warm and away from predators who could not get through the circle of horns showing. As well that Musk-ox have hooves but they are different from horses hooves, they are more like two toe hooves.

 Beside the beaver on another table was a beaver skull that someone found on one of the workshop walks in the morning. When you picked it up the tooth only looked about an inch long but if you carefully pulled it out in fact it's teeth are about 4-5" long.

Next it was time to head back outside to go on our bug safari. This was by far our favourite part of the day.

Everyone gathered around in the shade and they recapped what birds they saw in the morning and discussed our activities for the afternoon.
First up was bug catching. Everyone headed out into the field with a net trying to catch any critters they could.

 Sierra caught a couple different butterflies.

 Aayla caught a butterfly too.
 All the butterflies, bugs and dragonflies that everyone caught were put in clear jars to be examined for a little while.
A baby grasshopper
A dragonfly
Sierra with one of the butterflies she caught
When everyone was finished observing the creatures they all were let go and we continued the afternoon with a search for wild flowers. The group was dividing into smaller groups and headed back out into the field to see how many different wild flowers they could find hidden amongst the grasses. Here is what they found.
Oxeye Daisy
Meadow Buttercup
Cow Vetch (Bird Vetch)
Red Clover
Black Medick
Bird's-foot Trefoil
Narrow leaf Plantain (blooms just starting)
My favourite was this wispy wonderful mystery... Prairie Smoke and it's a new flower for me.

Prairie Smoke
After our wild flower search we discussed etiquette about picking flowers. Certain flowers like clover and dandelions are plentiful and are OK to pick in moderation but there are plants like Trilliums which die when picked that is not OK to pick at all...ever! We discussed how sometimes its fun to make nature art with things we pick and spent five minutes quickly picking a few common leaves and flowers to make art from them.

Can you guess what this is?
 The two hours for this bug safari flew by... but we all enjoyed our time here a lot. Our last activity for the bug safari was to line up in two rows. One row held nets and the other row walked towards the net row trying to chase out bugs and critters into the nets waiting. I didn't get a photo and we were only successful in catching one butterfly this way but I can see this working at the beginning of the day a little bit better.

Next we headed out on a wagon ride.

 When the ride was over the girls asked if they could pet King and Zach.
Then it was off to make a birdhouse.

Even though we didn't arrive until noon we crammed in a fun filled afternoon and will be sure to sign up for some of the workshops next year. Have you ever attended the Carden nature festival? Or other nature Festivals?