Mass Audubon Class Late Fall I

I discovered today that frogs are tremendously well camouflaged and thus tremendously unphotogenic. I’ve cheated and used Google to find pretty pictures of the frogs we saw during the Mass Audubon Late Fall Toddler Class.

The vernal pool at the Mass Audubon Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary had quite a bit of water in it today. And quite a few frogs.  We saw three or four tiny wood frogs trying to sleep in the pool, and a somewhat larger Leopard frog trying to hide in the leaves. Annette caught one of the wood frogs and everyone thought that was pretty awesome. Apparently at the right time in spring that pool is solid with frogs, which must be super exciting – for the kids of course – I’m too cool for that ;-).

Did you know that wood frogs freeze in winter? They hibernate in the top surface of the soil and leaves, but they make clever antifreeze proteins (glycogen and urea) to prevent osmotic damage during freeze/thaw cycles. Too cool! (pun intended)

My wildlife watching method, is to stumble over (step on) various rabbits, deer, snakes, birds,… and give them heart attacks. Apparently the mice at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary knew I was coming, because all the mouse holes Annette found were empty. Or maybe it was a gaggle of excited two and three year olds approaching? Either way, we saw lots of holes, but no mice this week.

It was a bit rainy so we spent a bit of time in the nature center making critter homes. Annette supplied a range of plastic snakes, salamanders, and frogs and some Crayola Model Magic. Awesome stuff. Everyone made rocks and logs and caves for their critters, though some ended up inside a solid ball of Crayola Magic.  Alex enjoyed playing with the whole set up all the way to the next stop on our agenda. We went to Russell Orchards, and they make fresh apple cider donuts…

Mass Audubon Class Late Fall I

Mass Audubon Class Late Fall II

Mass Audubon Class Late Fall III

Mass Audubon Class Late Fall VI

Mass Audubon Class Late Fall V

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