Wednesday mornings during the month of July
children ages 1-6 are invited to Green Mountain Conservation Group’s (GMCG) Conservation Center, the Blue Heron House, to participate in free, fun, and educational place-based environmental activities from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Activities include outdoor walks, snacks, and nature stories. Blue Heron House is located at 236 Huntress Bridge Road in Effingham, just off of Route 25 and next to the Ossipee River.
Nature Story & Discovery Time will include a different theme each week, such as insects, pond exploration, the Ossipee River, trees, wildlife, etc. Young children will enjoy a story time followed by an outdoor walk, scavenger hunt, or other engaging activities followed by crafts and a snack. There will be fun raffles and prizes each week, with the grand prize passes to Attitash Mountain summer adventure park being raffles on the final Wednesday. The program will run about one hour and caregivers and children are encouraged to stay afterwards and enjoy the trails, vernal pool, and even fishing by the river with their children (bring your own poles and tackle, swimming is not allowed).
According to the Child Mind Institute, the average American child is said to spend four to seven minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over seven hours a day in front of a screen. Young children especially benefit from the ability to learn in an ‘outdoor classroom’, with the facilitation of educators and adults. By providing the public with more opportunities to engage their children in nature, GMCG hopes to lessen this ‘indoor epidemic’, and evoke a sense of wonder and place in the children who visit their conservation center and walk the trails.
GMCG’s conservation center on the Ossipee River offers a wealth of opportunities for youth to be immersed in the outdoors and engaged with the subtle yet intriguing wildlife and natural resources the property offers in Effingham, NH.
Additionally, visitors and can walk the Great Blue Heron Trail, which is currently being built with the help of GMCG volunteers and AmeriCorps Members from the Lakes Region Conservation Corps. The trail features a fascinating look on riparian habitat along the Ossipee River, the outlet for the entire Ossipee Watershed! The trail is family-friendly and favorable for anyone looking for relatively gentle exploration in the woods. The trail and GMCG property also feature a vernal pool and old growth forest, excellent habitat for species such as the wood frog, blue spotted salamander, woodpeckers, and sap-suckers. GMCG hopes to expand the Great Blue Heron trail farther into a second property, allowing more opportunity for users of the trails to learn of other distinguishing features nearby including wetland ecosystems such as the bog, and rare plants too.
Nature Story & Discovery Time is a free event for children ages 1-6 and their caregivers. Special thanks to Beam Construction & Associates, Inc. and Skehan Home Center, and Memorial Hospital for their support of this program. Visit gmcg.org for more details.