By Emma Henzes BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville is trying to teach preschoolers important values through their afternoon program, Trail Tales. After being read a story about the outdoors, the children are then lead on a nature walk by a guide. They do nature walks all year round, but today the story was about finding ways that the season of spring is here not only in the air, but in nature.
Charlotte Rozanski, a conservation biologist and researcher, is a guide and storyteller for Trail Tales. She pointed out to the children the moss growing on the trees as a sign of spring. The weather was mild for today’s walk, a nice change from the usual cold the Trail Tales participants have endured.
Rozanski said that Trail Tales is a great activity to get kids outdoors, and she feels kids in today’s age do not spend enough time outside. She said fostering a love for nature at an early age helped her become who she is today. She wants to help kids see that relationship and let it flourish at a young age. Another goal of Rozanski’s is to teach children to respect nature through Trail Tales.
“That’s why I try to stress leave no trace. You know we don’t want to impact the environment while we are out in the trails,” Rozanski said. “We want to appreciate it and enjoy it, but we also want to leave it in a way that others can enjoy it.”
Some people have a hands-off policy when it comes to being in nature, meaning don’t touch anything. But Rozanski has a hands-on philosophy, that in her opinion, is more fun for children. She wants the kids appreciate things and pick them up exploring what they are. She says the children’s curiosity and intelligent questions never fails to amaze her.
“They are tiny scientist,” Rozanski said. “Sometimes I think I never thought of that. Wow.”
Four-year-old Harlow Thomas was one of those curious participants. She stayed at the front of the group with Rozanski, not worried that she was far away from her grandfather who brought her to Trail Tales. Thomas’s grandfather, Charlie Usso, enjoyed watching his granddaughter explore the trails and pick up different sticks and acorns, examining them. Usso agrees with Rozanski that it’s vital for children to foster a relationship with the outdoors.
“Connect them with nature,” Usso said was the reason he brought his granddaughter. To get them out of in the woods. You know it’s just to get them familiar and to enjoy nature.”
I asked Thomas, who comes to Trail Tales often, what she normally sees on the nature walks. She answered “like ladybugs, and hedgehogs and stuff and birds.”
Another participant three-year-old Logan Thorpe he proudly wore his frog name tag that he had colored while he waited for the story to began. When I asked him what he say on this nature walk, he answered, “A squirrel. Just one squirrel.”
Beaver Lake Nature Center will have more Trail Tales in April, May and June. To find out more details about the events, go on onondagacountyparks.com