It is hard for me to write a weekly green tip since all I can see from my window is white. So this week (I know it has been actually a few weeks since my last post), I am dedicating the blog to things wintery and white, and how we might make the most of our current weather trend.
At Irvine, we encourage engagement with nature regardless of the season, and here are a few things you and your family can do to get outside, fight cabin fever, and engage with the natural world. Obviously, when temperatures plummet into the single digits and wind chills reach sub-zero numbers, it may not be the best time to take your toddlers outside, but there are many great things you can do when winter is in full swing.
One of the things I did last week with the bountiful snowfall was make a couple huge piles from the material I had to shovel from our driveway and walks. Once the snow stopped, my kids and I set about digging into one of the piles creating tunnels, caves, walls, and secret escape routes. Over the course of the two days off from school, I kept them busy for hours outside without a single complaint. In fact, once they saw how much fun it was to dig in the snow pile and be creative, it was difficult to get them inside for coco and drying out!
Obviously sledding is a great option as well. I saw many families taking advantage of the conditions here at Irvine to sled and snowshoe on our 116 acres. Even the preschoolers and day-off campers were getting in on the fun with improvised sleds. We may have even had a few cross-country skiers shushing along our trails and down the hills in the meadow.
Another great late winter activity is maple sugaring. We do that here at Irvine and have our “Maple Magic” program scheduled for tomorrow, February 22nd. Check out our website at www.explorenature.org for details. Or consider attending our winter star gazing evening next Thursday night with Irvine Naturalist Steve Mickletz; coco is provided!
Finally, who can resist making a good old fashioned snowman with stick arms and a carrot nose. I know that my kids loved making theirs at home until one of the dogs ran off with its nose! I even saw some creatively designed snow sculptures made by visitors here at Irvine as well as along Garrison Forest Road – I particularly like the one at the corner of Park Heights and Garrison Forest; check it out before it melts!
So for now, it looks like we will continue to see white but remain hopeful that will change to green as we welcome spring here at Irvine. Start getting excited for upcoming annual events at Irvine like the Treehugger 5K, SpringFest!, Project Clean Stream, and many more!