Outings

Upcoming Nature Outings & Events

October 19th: Nature Appreciation (& Monarch Send-off) Party, Kentville Ravine, 10 – 12:30

Join us for our annual appreciation of nature party.  This year we are  inspired to wish our Monarch friends a safe trip to Mexico.
We’ll be celebrating the amazing Monarch butterflies as they travel their extraordinary journey to Mexico. The only insect to migrate more than 5000 miles. (We realize they have already departed but they are still en route; next year we’ll have the party a month earlier!)
We’ll have a big nature challenge with various stations, music, well-wishing activities, treats, and more.
Everyone Welcome! For ages: 2 to 102.  RAIN DATE: Sunday Oct 20th

September 21st: Conservation Dog Demo in the Kentville Ravine, 10 am – 12:15 pm

Since prehistoric times people have used dogs to help find and capture their quarry. Today specially trained dogs are also used in conservation, including monitoring rare or endangered species and detecting invasive plants and animals.

On our September outing you will not only learn about this fascinating line of work from Dalhousie researcher Simon Gadbois*, but you’ll get to meet and see in action one of Dr. Gadbois’s dogs.  Ivy, a 3 year old Red Golden Retriever will show you how much she loves people, and then, if she has any energy left, how she works in trailing and tracking. Her handler will talk about the training, the field dynamic of olfaction, and why dog and humans make the perfect team when looking for difficult to find and often cryptic species-at-risk.

Please do not bring your dog to this event.

Event updates will be posted here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2929964213742499/

 

PAST NATURE OUTINGS AND EVENTS

June 15th: Building a Community Field Guide to the Ravine (+ hike)

We’re up to something super cool here and we hope you’ll come and contribute and enjoy a good stretch of the legs as we start with a hike into the Ravine (to the waterfall!).

With the power of today’s technology we can build an on-line field guide to the Kentville Ravine for all seasons and all species.  To do that we need the community’s eyes and photos. So, building on last month’s session, we’re going to get into our iNaturalist project with the help of Ian Manning from Blomindon Naturalists Society and give you clear guidance on how to contribute.  There will be prize give-aways!

The kids will contribute in their own way to the field guide by being our scouts and scampering into areas we are less likely to explore.  The goal is lots of movement without losing awareness of the life all around.

This is a tech friendly event, please bring your cameras.

Location: Kentville Ravine – meet by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

NEW DATE for: Nature Photography – SUNDAY MAY 19th

Come on a photography walk with us in the Ravine on Sunday May 19th. Same time and place as usual but moved to Sunday due to rain on Saturday.

Learn tips and tricks for taking great nature pics and find out how we’re collectively building an all-season field guide to the Ravine.

Zeus from The Photo GYM in Kentville will lead the photography portion of our session and Ian Manning from Blomidon Naturalists Society will be on hand to provide guidance on the iNaturalist project so you can see how you can get involved.  And our super team of facilitators have  lots of super fun activities for the kids so the adults can geek out on photography uninterrupted.

Bring your cameras, cell phones, etc.  This is a tech friendly event : )

Location: Kentville Ravine – meet by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

April 13th: Wood Turtles

Spring is here and that means lots of species are emerging from a sleepy winter, getting ready for reproduction. This includes turtles. Join our friends from the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) to learn about the wood turtle.  The wood turtle is a species at risk in Nova Scotia. It’s found in the Annapolis River watershed and may still persist in the Cornwallis River watershed. We will talk about how to ID them,  the types of habitat they use, when to find them, what data to record if you find one and actions you can take to help protect their habitat.

AN UPDATE ON LOCATION: We will to be back in the Kentville Ravine!

 

 

March 16th:  Exploring the Kentville Gorge

Due to the quickly melting snow we are changing plans and we will NOT be in the Ravine or the Bird Sanctuary.

We’ll explore the beautiful Kentville Gorge for signs of spring and animal activity led by retired biology professor and President of the Blomidon Naturalist Society Soren Bondrup-Nielsen.  We’ll have an adult stream and a kid’s stream with shared adventure time at the beginning and end.

Meeting point: Kentville Gorge Parking Lot – at the end of Gladys Porter Drive, Kentville, B4N 2S4

 

February 16th:  Winter Tracking in the Bird Sanctuary – CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN STORM

January 19th: Winter Tree ID +

It’s one thing to know your plants in the fullness of summer, but what about at this time of year, without the leaves to help us? How well would you do distinguishing a maple from an ash tree?  What about a spruce from a hemlock?  We are going to be focused on winter tree identification led by Ian Manning of the Blomidon Naturalists Society (BNS) in the adult stream this month. And the kids will be doing their own investigations and IDing as they explore the Ravine for signs of winter animal activity. Ian will also introduce us to iNaturalist and instruct us on building a seasonal field guide specific to the Kentville Ravine.  This will be an on-going initiative of FSA and BNS.
We’ll run the program with two streams:  kids and adults, but come together at noon to share our adventures.
Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

 

December 15th: Slowing Down and Fire Making

At this busy time of year it’s important to tap into nature and ourselves to unwind and connect to the things that matter most. Join Flying Squirrel Adventures for some quality time outside on the third Saturday of December.  We’ll start with some tuning in activities that will help you become a better naturalist (i.e. tricks of the trade for better nature awareness) before we try our hand at making a fire using the ancient method of bow and drill.

We’ll run the program with two streams:  kids and adults, but come together around the fire at the end for stories and hot tea.   Snacks welcome.

The terrain in the Ravine is uneven and steep in places so please wear solid footwear. This event is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Nov 17th: Waterfall Walk and Watershed Activities

Have you been coming to Flying Squirrel Adventures and/or the Ravine for a while now and wondering if we’ll ever make it past the concrete bridge?  Are you curious about what lies beyond the beautiful Hemlock ally?   Would you like explore the topography of the ravine, stretch your legs and see a waterfall?   Well, you’re in luck, we’re doing it.  We’re going for a walk this time – our wonderful walk leaders Jennifer West and John Brazner from the Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance (JWA) have promised they will get the adults to the waterfall in November and share some cool info about the watershed.

At the same time, in the kids program, Emily LeGrand, Marina Myra and the rest of the facilitation team also plan to cover more ground and explore deeper than they’ve gone before – including possibly the waterfall, but staying a good distant to ensure feet stay dry.  They have some neat watershed activities to offer too.

Consequently, this event will be a little bit faster paced and covers more ground but is still suitable to a range of ages and abilities.  Please assess yourself and, if applicable, your child, and wear solid footwear.

Oct 20th: FSA Launch Party with Nature Challenge & live music

It’s time to party!  We are celebrating our love of nature with a big all-ages Nature Challenge (scavenger hunt style) followed by a live musical performance on the 3rd Saturday in October.  The talented and clever Little Miss Moffat will sing many of her great songs that teach about the plants and animals in our world.  There will be prizes, cool local biodiversity info, activities and more.  Fun for everyone!

Note: we have a rain date for this event:  Sunday October 21st

And as always, pack a lunch and stay for a post-party picnic. This is a free-will-offering event.

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

September 15th: Forest Fungi Foray

Its that time of year loved by mushrooms and mushroom lovers. The combination of warm air and moist soil helps the fungi flourish – find out what is popping out of the earth in the Kentville Ravine with our upcoming Flying Squirrel Adventure. Both the kids and adult program will take a closer look at mycelium in September. The kids group will be led by Marina Myra and Emily LeGrand and the adults will be joined by Ken Harrison Jr. of the Blomidon Naturalists Society.

Bring a picnic (roasted portabellos perhaps?) and have your lunch after the event.

August 18th: Bugs, bugs, bugs

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

Summer is the season of bugs. Some we love and (many) others not so much. But they are world onto themselves and we can’t live without them. Find out more with etymologist Dr. Todd Smith from Acadia University in the adult stream.  And the kids too will go on a bug hunt with Marina Myra leading.  Sure to be a buzzing morning!

Who is this beautiful creature? Come find out on August 18th.

July 21st:  Cool Stuff for the Summer Heat

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

We’ve got a cool line-up for a hot July!  Between the trees and the stream it’s a great place to stay cool in the summer heat while we explore both. Check-out this line-up for all ages:

Adults: Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

What holds the forest together? What constitutes a healthy forest ecosystem? What all is at play from deep underground to the tips of the trees? Come on an engaging walk with ecologist Nick Hill to explore the web of life and healthy forest ecology in the magical Kentville Ravine.

Nick is a highly skilled botanist, plant ecologist and wetland ecologist. His enthusiasm for science and nature is inspirational. Come and be inspired!

Children: Stream Adventure II

In the children’s stream, we will be in the stream, again! Also known as Elderkin Brook. There’s no better place to be in the summer heat. We will be experimenting with how water flows and behaves in the stream. Luckily for us, this involves classic summer fun activities such as measuring how fast water flows in different parts of the stream by making mini rafts and racing them, pretending we are beavers, and learning how to skip rocks. We will also learn how to read the water as if we were canoeing or kayaking, with a water-reading scavenger hunt and playful experiments.

Needless to say, please wear water appropriate footwear such as sandals, watershoes or boots, and bring a towel and change of clothes! Children should expect to wade, not swim, in the water. Looking forward to a big splash of fun!

June 16th:  Exploring Elderkin Brook

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

At our upcoming Flying Squirrel Adventures, both the adult and kids stream will be exploring the beautiful Elderkin Brook from different angles.

 Adults:  Water quality and signs of a healthy watershed

 In June we are lucky to have Beth Schaffenburg, Stream Technician and Community Trainer with Adopt-a-Stream Program leading us on an exploration of Elderkin Brook.  We’ll be learning about aquatic life and what makes for a healthy waterway for fish and other creatures.   Bring your rubber boots and dipnets!

Children: A plant hike to Elderkin Brook Waterfall

On the children’s adventure, we will be taking advantage of warm June weather, our group’s enthusiastic, roaming energy and the Ravine’s fun and beautiful waterfall! We’ll head deeper into the forest than we have been so far to have time to play in the shallow, gently sloping waterfall nestled in the back of the Ravine. On the way there and back, we will stop to learn about a few key plants of our region. And we’ll play a running nature game, and have some quiet observation time before joining the adults again at the closing circle.  We recommend you back a change of clothes for the kids – getting wet is going to be inevitable!

May 19th: Migrating Birds and Ravine Magic

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

As will be our regular practice, we’ll begin and end our session with all ages together for a few activities and each will also have their own adventure, sometimes on the same theme, but also different themes.  Here’s the May line-up:

Adult Program Theme: Bird Migration and Birding Basics

May is bird migration month and we’ll learn about who is passing through and landing in our region at this time of year.   Long time bird observer, James Churchill* will lead the adult outing with facilitation support from Judy Lipp.  We have a fun morning planned including tips, tricks and practices to help you become a better birder.    

*James Churchill has been paying attention to birds since childhood and fell in love with them while migration monitoring in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. The Kentville Ravine being one of the remaining old forest gems of the Annapolis Valley, James has spent much time birding there.He is currently Data Manager and Avian Biologist at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre in Kentville where he focuses on documenting the distribution and status of rare and protected bird species in the Maritimes. 

Children’s Program: There Be Dragon’s Here

It will be an extra special morning for the kids as Marina Myra and Emily LeGrand unveil a special Trail Adventure developed especially for the Kentville Ravine.  They will go in search of  dragons, visit the ancient ones, explore caves and learn about the magic of the Ravine.

This months Flying Squirrel Adventures event for children is the official Launch of a set of Nature Trail Adventures for Kings County and will feature a magical dragon adventure, where we get to know these secretive guardians of the forest and their wild friends, while we play and learn about the natural history of the Kentville Ravine.

This Nature Trail Adventure is designed to connect people to nature in a fun and imaginative way and is one of a set of 5 Nature Adventures, developed for specific public trails in Kings County. The whole set can be found at the Municipality of Kings County Recreation site – http://www.countyofkings.ca/common/pars/

These Nature Adventures where a partnership effort and where made possible by the following contributors and sponsors:

  • Blomidon Naturalists Society
  • Nova Scotia Government Department of Culture, Communities and Heritage
  • Wild Roots Nature Education Centre
  • Dr. Alan Warner, Acadia University Department of Community Development
  • Municipality of the County of Kings Recreation Services
  • Town of Kentville Parks and Recreation

April 21st: Flying Squirrel Adventures launches.  

Meeting point: by the upper trailhead parking lot behind the Research Station  (see map – http://www.paulillsley.com/Kentville_Ravine_Trail/)

Theme: Getting to know the Ravine

We’ll be exploring the Ravine and getting to know the plants and animals that make it their home.  Retired biology professor Soren Bondrup-Nielsen will be leading the adult programming stream on a walk along the Ravine trails and sharing some of its hidden and not so hidden gems. 

The children’s programming stream will also be on a ‘getting- to-know-the-Ravine adventure’ but at a different pace with program facilitators, Emily LeGrand and Marina Myra. 

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