With a dusting of snow on the ground and a crisp chill in the air, many families choose to spend these days indoors, staying warm with hot cocoa or snuggling up with a blanket and movie. With a good coat and hat, however, this is a fabulous time to go on some outdoor adventures with your kids. Whether taking a trip to the forest or exploring your own neighborhood, there is plenty to explore.Sharing the winter landscape with our children connects them to the cycles of nature and helps them gain a more complete understanding of the changing seasons. Familiar places look different once plants lose leaves and flowers shrivel and fall. Invite children to compare and contrast what they see now to what they remember from spring and summer visits to the same place. How are plants staying alive through cold weather? Where might the animals go to stay warm? What do we look forward to with the changing seasons?
My kids were thrilled to track raccoons that left their footprints in the icy snow in our neighborhood.
In the quiet of a chilly morning, there may be greater opportunities to animals- birds eating from a feeder, squirrels scurrying up a tree- since there aren’t crowds of hiker scaring them away. Wet or snowy ground allows us to better see tracks of animals who have traveled the paths before us.There is much to be seen and learned from the quiet, winter forest, river, park or even neighbor’s yards. With fewer people out and about, your outdoor experience can be a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of school and work.
How do you share the winter landscape with your kids? What are your favorite places to explore when the weather is chilly?
Here is nice article by Writer Amy Wang of the Oregonian with tips for cultivating the connection between children, nature and the outdoors.
Over 160 people (both of the little and big variety) came out for our first Muddy Boots event on April 28th. PSU Capstone students and our experienced volunteers had fun demonstrating historical logging practices, revealing coyote dens, discussing salmon and macro-invertebrates and much more to these families. We’re excited to build on this momentum as we continue to develop future events for this nature club.
One thing we learned is that people have different approaches when it comes to connecting with the natural world. Some families enjoy an experienced leader and a group feeling so they can develop camaraderie with other families interested in exploring the outdoors. Other families cherish the freedom of discovery as they guide themselves through the Muddy Boots interpretive stations at their own pace. As we strive to provide opportunities for connection, the Friends will do our best to accommodate these diverse and unique preferences.
In August, we will be hosting another event that will feature guided hikes for the first portion of the event and self-guided tours during the latter portion. As we continue building this program, we will strive to gather as much feedback from parents and children as possible. We are excited about every opportunity we have to share our passion for nature and we look forward to spreading our excitement with each and every one of you!
On February 9th, OPB’s Oregon Field Guide featured the Muddy Boots Family Nature Club. If you would like to check it out you can following this link:
Or check out the replay on TV on Sunday, February 12th at 6:30pm.
Dear Muddy Boots Families,
The Muddy Boots Family Nature Club is in the process of transitioning to new leadership. While Jess Hoylman and Angela Fojtik have provided incredible vision and direction during the initial growth of Muddy Boots, throughout the past few months the necessity of a permanent home for this club has become apparent. The Friends of Tryon Creek are excited to provide this home! While the Friends will certainly host Muddy Boots events here at Tryon Creek State Natural Area, the Friends plan on continuing to provide experiences throughout Portland as Jess and Angela had originally planned.
The Friends look forward to using our connections with other providers of environmental and experiential education to offer families a plethora of opportunities for getting outside and developing a relationship with the natural world. As the Muddy Boots Family Nature Club continues to grow under the Friends leadership, please visit these webpages for listings of upcoming Muddy Boots events, family nature programs happening throughout the region, nature oriented activities for families to complete on their own, and much more. It is the Friends goal to provide Muddy Boots families with all the information and activities a family could need in becoming engaged with Portland’s wildside.
As the Friends continue this transition and get to work on the Muddy Boots website we ask that you please allow us some time to get things fully up and running, but feel free to e-mail us at [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions. We look forward to continuing this exciting new chapter with you and providing our children with formative and fun outdoor experiences.
See you soon,
Friends of Tryon Creek