Spring—known to some as “mud season”—requires us to be extra gentle with Mother Nature. It’s a time to spot snowdrops, crocuses, and fiddleheads as they are beginning to emerge, but it’s also a time when wet trails are especially susceptible to damage. Don’t be afraid to pull on your wellies and go puddle jumping on paved roads, look for returning birds, or snap photos of baby wildlife. Just be thoughtful about how you’re interacting with the environment as you do!
Navigating Puddles and Pools
Snowmelt and spring rain can make things messy in the woods. If your kids are new to getting muddy or have sensitivities, you may want to invest in rain gear. The right attire lets little ones make mud pies from sunup till sundown and won’t leave you wondering how to remove dirt caked on cotton pants. Bonus: They can always use their gear again at summer camp.
Spring is also an ideal time to search for vernal pools at Hale. These small, temporary bodies of water can be found where the bottoms of hills meet forest floors. Frogs, salamanders, and worms are just a few of the critters you’ll find living there. These amphibians are themselves susceptible to harm, so it’s best to avoid handling them.
Games and Activities
“I Spy” games are always a popular pastime for little kids. You can download I Spy Spring at Hale to hunt for specific items, or you might even use a geocaching app or smartphone game like Pokémon Go. It’s good for the whole family to unplug, but there’s no shame in using technology to coax kids outside. Consider setting a time limit for any screen-based games, and there’s a good chance offline activities will attract their interest. Unstructured play, and even boredom, builds executive functioning skills and resilience.
Leaving No Trace
With so many acres to explore, it might be tempting to step or ride around wet areas when running, hiking, and biking. To prevent erosion, remember to abide by The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. Making your own path can damage the environment that’s home to so many plants and animals.
By thoughtfully exploring during the spring, we can ensure the environment is healthy and ready for warmer days ahead.