Nocturnal Animal Tour of Burnaby Lake

Last week the 24th Brownies and 56th Guides teamed up for an outing to Burnaby Lake where they learned all about nocturnal creatures with the help of staff from Metro Vancouver Parks. More info about their programming is available here.

It was a really fun night! Unfortunately, between the rain and the dark it wasn’t easy to get good photos, but luckily one of the Brownie leaders was happy to tell us all about it (and to share the couple of photos she did try to take). Here’s what she’s said:

Since the Guides group is so big, we had two interpreters, and it cost about $5/girl for a two-hour expedition. Since it was pretty well dark by 6:30, we did the Nocturnal Creatures program. My group started out with a “Hedbanz” style game where the girls had to guess which animal they had been assigned by asking yes or no questions.

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We talked about the heightened senses that nocturnal animals use. For the next activity, three bottles, each containing a different scent (lemon, coconut or mint) representing a different beaver family, were set out around the small area we were in.  The girls were each handed a bottle with one of three scents in it. They then had to use their sense of smell to identify which family they belonged to. Then we started on our hike. Along the way, we hoped to see a flying squirrel come out of a box high up on a tree, but none came out when our interpreter knocked. We were shown an owl skull, and a demonstration on how much noise a single goose feather makes when flapped through the air (a surprising amount) versus an entire owl wing (amazingly, none!). We looked (in vain) for salamanders. The girls learned about bats’ super hearing with wire hangers, string and a spoon.

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There was an activity on our (in)ability to see colour in the dark where the girls were handed different coloured crayons and papers and they had to write down which colour they thought each item was, and see if they were right when they turned on their flashlights.

Lastly, the girls played a sensory game where plastic toys (frog, fish, egg, etc) were hidden in a container they had to reach into blindly to find and discern. Despite the cold and the rain, it seemed like everyone had a good time!

Sounds like fun! The Metro Vancouver Parks people always do such a great job with their field trip programs. It’s a great way for our girls to learn about the natural world in a hands-on and interactive way. It’s always so cool to be reminded about the awesome nature that we have right here in our backyards.

Sparks become Nature Explorers

Last week the girls in the 1st Sparks went on an outing to Burnaby Lake where they were toured around the park by some Metro Vancouver park interpreters for a Nature Explorers field trip. The theme of the evening was nocturnal animals.image (3)

Stations and activities were set up along the trail designed for the girls to learn about bats, owls, spiders, frogs, slugs, beavers, and flying squirrels. Puppets, artefacts, and habitats were all involved in a hands-on experience, expertly tailored to our girls’ ages. One of the best recieved activities involved the Sparks climbing through a giant spider web without touching the strings… or else the giant fuzzy spider puppet would come turn them into supper!

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There was plenty of real nature to enjoy. Girls got to pet slugs, listen to frogs, and observe birds — some girls even spotted an owl!

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It was a lot of fun to spend a meeting outside learning about nature. It was neat to learn that there was so much wildlife so close to where we all live. If other groups are interested in booking a park interpreter field trip, details are available here.