In late December six kids who had participated in the Junior Naturalist Club program in past years answered some questions about their experiences. We heard from nine-year-old Katie, 10-year-old Diana, 11-year-old Lana, 12-year old Andrew, 16-year-old Kim and 19-year-old Alex. Katie and Diana look forward to the return of the Junior Naturalist Club and will be in the Seekers group.
What advice would you give a child just joining the program?
Katie: I would tell them that if they join you would get to do stuff you normally wouldn't get to do just walking on the trails.
Andrew: You'll enjoy it! It's really fun! And you meet new people and do things outdoors.
What were some of your favorite activities?
Andrew: Maple Syruping and the family picnic.
Alex: It was quite a while ago, but I remember one day when they gave us big nets and we went to the pond outside and caught critters in there wrotedown things about them in our log books.
Kim: My favorite thing was when we went to the farm in October. We would get a pumpkin and ride on a hayride.
Katie: I liked pond dipping and I really enjoyed just walking on the trails. We would always see something different.
Lana: I liked going to the farma and the hayride.
Andrew: There were lots of games that were fun. One was with a bunch of sticks all around and you had a compass and you had to find different letters. It taught me how to use a compass.
Diana: Maple Syrup day. I like learning about how they make the maple syrup and seeing the people in costumes during our walk.
What's your best memory from your time in the club?
Katie: One time when we were taking a trail walk, we saw a mother deer and two of her fawns.
Andrew: Once we went to the farm and made our own meal of corn and a kind of pie and it was really fun and different. In the winter, there was a igloo and you got to go inside and see how much warmer it was than outside.
Kim: I liked coming, especially walking the trails with my mom and dad who would sometimes come here with me. It was something different to do than sitting at home, especially in the winter. And it was fun to go outside.
Alex: It was good that we did something different every month.
What is it about earning beads in JNC? Can you tell us about it?
Andrew: There is a necklace and you do different stuff to earn the beads for it. One is planting plants or a tree. You plant a certain number and you earn a bead. And in July you get a bead. And it's really cool.
Alex: In order to earn a bead I planted a tree in our front yard. It's about 20 feet tall now.
Katie: (showing the group her necklace of many beads) The green ones are for the books we can read, like nature books. The brown ones are project beads for doing something like planting a tree. The white ones are for attendance. The red ones are summer camp beads.
What did the Junior Naturalist Club mean to you?
Alex: I liked not only coming here for Junior Naturalists once a month, but also learning how to make bird houses and things on my own. I Iiked doing those projects in my own backyard.
Kim: You learn things you wouldn't otherwise know, such as animal tracks. I remember learning about poison ivy and poison oak and what it looks like.
What would you tell parents who are considering the JNC for their child?
Andrew: I would tell them that their kids will enjoy it. It's really fun. You do a lot of interesting stuff and you meet a lot of different people.
Kim: It's true. You get to meet different people and make new friends. There was a girl I met at Junior Naturalist Club who was on my softball team when I went to the eighth grade.
Alex: I'm really glad my parents signed me up for it because of the things we learned about nature, but also the other science area we learned about. We did PH testing in the river here and that kind of opened the door to chemistry and some of the other science. I'm now studying civil engingeering and atmospheric science.
Diana: It is a very fun way to learn about nature. They always have good projects for the kids to and the walks are cool since you see animals and other nature.
Katie: If they signed up, then their kids would learn a lot about nature because you learn something different every single time.