WELCOME TO THE PATHWAY BLOG
Home Sweet Home: Build or install a nest box this spring! Here’s a great spring activity to try at home or at school. Nest
As we begin to prepare for the new school year in the fall, I’m reaching out on behalf of the Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship to see if you’re interested in submitting an application to provide programming for local children and/or youth. We’re grateful for support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which allows us to share fee-for-service subsidies with local individuals and groups to help involve more children in ‘Landmark’ activities.
The Pathway Project is based on 30 Landmarks that span a child’s development from birth through the late teens. These Landmarks are a step-by-step approach to fostering lifelong connections to nature and community, while developing skills in stewardship and leadership. As well, Landmark experiences help children improve physical and mental health, while building vibrant communities and a healthy environment. A summary of the Pathway Landmarks and corresponding age groups is attached; more Landmark details are on our website.
Does your work involve ‘Landmark’ activities with children and youth? Would you appreciate support to expand your outreach?
We can offer funding to support costs if you can provide Landmark-linked programs in local schools or early learning centres. (Schools and EL centres themselves are not eligible to apply.)
Criteria for Consideration:
- Ability to offer unique programs for a Landmark activity not readily available elsewhere
- Ability to engage large numbers of children or youth (although some proposals for shorter-term programs with smaller groups may also be considered)
- Ability to provide a high-quality experience for children or youth
- Funding support will enable you to deliver the program free of charge to participants
- Proposed activities are not existing services that your organization regularly offers, which already have existing secure funding
- Ability to market your Pathway activity through existing networks
- Ability to involve students in hands-on community improvement projects is not required,but will be considered an asset (projects should have an environmental, health or social justice focus)
- While individual organizations may focus their activities on specific age groups, we aim to include a range of target ages when selecting recipients for funding support
- Ability to provide an up-to-date Vulnerable Sector Police Record Check (prior to beginning your project, if approved)
How We Can Help:
- We can offer up to $6,500 in staffing costs to an average of 8 regional proposals
- Potential to contribute towards materials costs for supplies such as plants, outdoor art supplies and creative play materials
- Promotion of the services offered by your organization
How to Apply:
Please submit a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
In your letter, include:
1. A detailed description of the activity or experience you propose to offer
2. Which specific Landmark(s)your program will address
3. The number of children you will involve
4. Who is your intended audience (schools,families,earlylearningcentres,others?)
5. The target age range of children or youth
6. The time frame of your project (ongoing or seasonal)
7. A brief description of how you plan to recruit participants
8. Your staffing costs (# of hours, wage, # of people)
9. Materials costs (if applicable)
10.While we hope Covid restrictions will ease next year, explain whether you could adapt your program for virtual delivery if needed
For the upcoming year, the project year-end will be August 31, 2022 (proposed activities must be complete and documented by the end of August next year).
In the past year, successful community partnerships have involved a total of 7500 children and 500 adults in Landmark-related activities which have resulted in an incredible 14,000 individual experiences for regional children and youth! What an impact we can have when we work together! What’s more, when these experiences are reported on the Pathway website, ideas can be shared with others to inspire even more parents and teachers to get involved.
Whether or not we’re able to offer you financial support this year, we applaud the important work you do in our region, and look forward to continuing to work in partnership for the wellbeing of all children and youth. Contact Cathy Dueck, Pathway Coordinator, at email@example.com with any questions.
KWIC leads the way with secondary classes
This past school year, the Pathway Project has worked with many wonderful partner organizations to bring unique and memorable experiences to children and youth. The Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) has provided the first workshops for secondary students, based on Landmark 29: “Explore a local issue of social justice and develop a plan to raise public awareness or motivate public involvement.”
KWIC works from the Trent University campus and Sadlier House, fostering equitable and sustainable communities by expanding our understanding of the world and connecting people with local initiatives that reflect global issues – focussed on environmental and social justice issues.
KWIC staff and volunteers put their years of experience into creating a 4-part workshop series for secondary students, exploring the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Adopted in 2015, with a global challenge to tackle them by 2030, the 17 interlinked goals address issues of universal concern, including ending poverty and hunger, tackling climate change, and promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Workshop 1: Introduction to the UN SDGs (exploring the 17 goals through global, national, and local lenses; creating a social media challenge)
Workshop 2: Localizing the SDGs (examples of local action; establishing personal priorities; actions to help themselves and others)
Workshop 3: Youth as Agents of Change (examples of youth having an impact on issues of peace, justice, gender equality, and climate change; what young people are doing locally and how to get involved)
Workshop 4: Leaving No-One Behind (how discrimination, inequalities, and other root causes can create alienation and inaction; local examples; what can be done)
During the winter and spring, KWIC worked with more than 600 students to raise their awareness of the SDGs, hear their voices, and develop personal priorities and plans of action. In spite of an on-line setting necessitated by the Covid pandemic, students were involved through the whole process – responding through the ‘chat’ function, creating group poems, completing polls and playing interactive games with the help of online platforms, such as Kahoot and Slido.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students enjoyed the clear explanations and interactive components. Many were unaware of the SDGs and their importance, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn about them and to get involved locally. Students were from a wide range of secondary classes, including Environmental Science, Geography, Drama, Food and Nutrition, Contemporary Voices of First Nations, and English. We’re grateful to these secondary teachers for involving their classes in the workshops.
Our thanks to KWIC for providing this exceptional opportunity for local youth, and to the skilled and committed youth workshop facilitators who guided the process.
Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) connects people to global issues and local initiatives that can change how we understand the world and foster equitable and sustainable communities. We make positive change through three key program areas: Community Education, Youth & In School Programs and Umbrella Support for small and emerging community projects.
KWIC creates a local culture of global citizenship prioritizing inclusive inter-generational spaces that amplify diverse voices and knowledge systems through educational workshops, programs and events. KWIC is a grassroots registered charity led by a small, dedicated staff and amazing volunteers working in collaboration with talented community partners. You can visit us on our website at kwic.info for more information and opportunities to get involved, or to book a workshop!”
2021 Summer – Junior Park Program
The City of Peterborough, Recreation Division, is offering a free outdoor play program for children 4 to 8 years of age. Parents are asked to remain in the park during program hours.
All Public Health Guidelines and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and must be followed.
Weekly Schedule (July 5 to July 23)
Week 1: Under the Sea
July 5 to July 9 – 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Week 2: Let’s Celebrate the Holidays
July 12 to July 16 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Week 3: Disney Fun!
July 19 to July 23. |. 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Weekly Schedule (July 26 to Aug 13)
Week 4: Passport to Travel
July 26 to July 30 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
Week 5: Outer Space
August 3 to August 6 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
Week 6: Animal Kingdom
August 9 to August 13 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
For more information contact Youth Recreationist Ellen Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
Family-Friendly Summer Activities
Getting outside with your baby or toddler is great for the whole family. A bit of fresh air and exercise can help you and your child calm down, relax and refocus.
A hat, some sunscreen for babies over six months and a water bottle are necessities.
Sweet Summer Fun with Babies and Toddlers
Nancy Doherty, Pathway Activity Consultant
Enjoy time together, forget about the dirty dishes and enjoy some of these experiences:
1. A walk around the block may be enough for your toddler, they often like to stop and pick up every stone or stick, as they explore their world. Outdoors our senses are stimulated; see the colourful flowers, look up at the clouds, hear the chattering squirrels, singing birds, the smell of blossoms, feel of the wind touch the rough bark on the tree.
2. A picnic in a park or your backyard may be a new experience. Talk about the ants, the feel of the grass, the blue sky; introduce new words, label the colours you see.
3. A visit to a stream or creek provides opportunities for watching the water flow, throwing sticks or stones in the water to see a splash, or dipping toes in the water. Keep your eyes open for frogs and minnows or turn over some rocks to see the crayfish.
4. Set up a tent in the backyard, babies can crawl in and play some peek-a-boo, toddlers may bring their favourite toys and play or listen to a story while enjoying a new experience.
5. Play with some water, fill up a container that they can dip, dump, and discover in! Add sponges, rocks, shells, and cups of different sizes. Toddlers might decide to add some grass or dirt.
Water invites all kinds of discoveries; bathing dolls or toys, add a paintbrush and paint with water, fill up a watering can and water plants, climbing in the bin, and splashing. With support and encouragement from parents, children learn to love being in nature.
Currently, programs are offered virtually but watch for the Summer Schedule coming soon.
Simple Summer Activities
Kim Dobson, Pathway Activity Consultant
Looking for critters in a pond or creek: For some ideas on pond studies and what you’ll find in ponds and creeks, watch the Hidden Life of Ponds with Jacob Rodenburg or Swamped with Nature Nancy. There are so many areas in and around Peterborough to take your net and container and take off your shoes and get looking: Jackson’s Creek, Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, Millbrook pond and trout ponds, the Back Dam in Warsaw, around the edges of Little Lake and Squirrel Creek. Imagine the Marsh Conservation Area, Miller’s Creek Conservation Area, Hope Mill Conservation Area, and any body of water excluding sandy beaches (you won’t find much life on pure sand).
But pure sand is great for swimming, so take the family to a beach: Selwyn Conservation Area, the beach area at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, Lakefield Beach, Beavermead, Roger’s Cove, Jones Beach in Bridgenorth, Henry’s Gumming Beach in Curve Lake, Ennismore Waterfront Park, Douro Park, Sandy Lake Beach outside Buckhorn, Quarry Bay Beach on Stoney Lake off of Northey’s Bay Road, Kasshabog Lake Beach north of Havelock.
While you’re there, try your hand at making a sand castle. You can either use the traditional buckets and shovels or try the drip method
More into land activities?
Family hikes: Whether it’s a walk around the neighbourhood, a hike through Jackson Park, or further afield, like a hike to High Falls, nothing beats a walk in the woods with your family. Take a picnic (food is a great motivator for little ones on a hike) and walking shoes and away you go. Socks and shoes are helpful for stability but also because of the poison ivy and/or insects. Kawartha Land Trust has many areas with trails that are open to the public, from the Jeffrey Cowan property on Stoney Lake to the John Earle Chase Memorial Park on Pigeon Lake. Find maps and directions on the Kawartha Land Trust website
Become a citizen scientist this summer. Contribute to scientific data being gathered all over the world. It’s as easy as snapping a photo of anything from frogs, plants, insects, and posting them in apps like iNaturalist, eBird, Seek, Bumblebee Watch, Herps of Ontario (part of iNaturalist), Leafsnap. These citizen science apps, and contributing to research, have the added benefit of getting your family to observe what is around them, learning the names of these things, and learning more about them, which in turn will hopefully create a context for caring about these living things and taking care of them.
Create a Butterflyway: Seven steps to creating a Butterflyway from David Suzuki’s website
- Grow native wildflowers, Invest in a tree or shrub, Create a woodpile bug hotel, Leave sunny soil patches for bees,
- Provide a water source, Learn more about local bees and butterflies, Create a neighbourhood Butterflyway!
Unstructured free time: this is what summer is all about and it’s been proven that unstructured free time outdoors is very beneficial for child development and also for connecting to the environment.
Unstructured play provides a variety of benefits for child and youth health and well-being, in terms of: physical health and gross motor skills, mental and emotional health, social health and teamwork, learning and attention at school, and resiliency and risk management skills.
If your child is not used to unstructured free time outside, it might take time to build up their comfort level, stamina and also their imaginations as to what to do with this free time. Start with short time frames and some suggestions and build up to longer times and less “interference”. Most often, if given the time and space, kids will come up with imaginative things to do that you would never have considered. When you think that they are done, and they are saying that they don’t know what to do, give them more time and see what happens. This is often when the magic happens!
Bring the family to a Provincial Park, they are free this summer Monday to Thursday for day use. Provincial Parks in our area are: Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Silent Lake Provincial Park, Emily Provincial Park, Balsam Lake Provincial Park, and further afield Presqu’il Provincial Park.
Get out after dark and stargaze. Several wonderful apps for identifying constellations are: Skyview, Google Sky, SkySafari, Star Tracker and to find out where the International Space Station is, there is even an app for that, called International Space Station.
Even more activities for kids 5+
Nancy Thomson, Pathway Activity Consultant
1. Geocaching, the world’s biggest treasure hunt! If you like looking for treasures and discovering new places then Geocaching is for you. All you need is a smart phone or a GPS unit, get an account and decide which treasure hunt you will start with. There are likely many geocaches close to where you live and there are thousands in Peterborough and the Kawarthas to be found. Go to Geocaching.com and create your account and the geocache options will pop up. Walk, take a bike or make an unexpected stop while traveling this summer. It is an amazing way to explore the land.
2. Build a Fort
A cool place to beat the heat this summer is in the forest and Peterborough has plenty of them to explore. Jackson Park is the first one that comes to mind and is the perfect spot to build a fort. Let the children figure out what will make forts strong, waterproof, warm at night, and of course stylish. Please remember to ensure that the fort builders are aware of animal homes and not to cut live branches for their forts as we are sharing the land with so many creatures, big and small.
3. Get on your BIKE and ride!
The Great Trail (otherwise known as the TransCanada Trail) runs right through Peterborough and to the east and west. There are many sections of the trail that are on old rail trails allowing for easy biking adventures while minimizing exposure to motorized vehicles. You can bike all the way to Hastings and beyond on the trail, stopping for a picnic along the way. Or, if you want to go the other way, head west towards Omemee and discover the beautiful lands around the county. Visit https://tctrail.ca/ and see the section of the trail you want to discover.
4. Canoeing and Kayaking the Canal
A canoe trip doesn’t just have to be in the vast wilderness. Exploring the Peterborough area along the canal is a really fun and exciting way to spend a summer day. Whether you start in Little Lake or in Lakefield, you can travel along the canal and stop for a bite along the way, at a local café or the picnic you brought to eat at your favourite lock. If you don’t have your own boat or one to borrow, LiftLock Paddle Co has canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards with a PFD included. Explore the lock system or just paddle the lakes that make the Kawarthas a destination for many travelers.
5. Beach Volleyball
Bring a hat, some sunscreen and a beach ball (or volleyball of course) and enjoy the sand in your toes as you play a game of beach volleyball. There are 6 courts available for public use at Beavermead Park in Peterborough on a first come first serve basis. If they are already rented when you get there, there is an amazing playground, field space, and beach as some easy alternatives to your game. A visit to Ecology Park could also be a quick alternative but it is a worthwhile trip on its own.
6. The Perfect Solution to a Hot Summer’s Night
One of my favourite memories, when my kids were young, were the nights when we went “off script”. Instead of a regular bedtime routine, we planned a special evening on those hottest of hot summer evenings. Packing up a dinner picnic with some cool treats, we headed to a park with a splash pad. After dinner (instead of bath, book, bed) the kids would have fun in the splash pad, cooling them down after a hot day. At the park, we would change them into their PJs, read a book, and head home where they would be tucked into bed (likely negotiating for one more book before lights out). Such special memories.
There is lots of fun under the sun, but here is a wonderful activity from our Outdoor Activity Consultant, Kelly, King, that brings you out after dark for a late-night adventure.
Night Vision Journeys
Kelly King, Pathway Activity Consultant
Did you know? Red light helps to preserve our night vision because of the low frequency it has when it meets our eyes. At really low, or red light, conditions our eyes produce a chemical called rhodopsin which allows us to more easily see in the dark. From the last bright light, we see it can take about 20 to 40 minutes for our eyes to start producing rhodopsin. This means you’ll need to make sure you’re only using your red light and not looking at any bright lights like street lamps, cellphones, or watches for 20 to 40 minutes before you start seeing the benefits of your night vision flashlight!
What you’ll need:
Small piece of plastic (like saran wrap)
What to do:
1. Colour one side of the plastic with your red marker.
2. Cover the end of your flashlight with the red plastic and secure it with an elastic band.
3. Take your red light on your next night hike and note how much more you can see when you don’t have bright lights around you!
Kim’s Spring Activity Guide
Our Outdoor Activity Consultant, Kim, has rustled up some exciting Spring Activities to keep our Pathway community busy!
2. Help the Birds
From The Canadian Wildlife FederationEncourage birds to nest around your property by providing mud and nesting materials.
- Choose a spot at the edge of a flower or vegetable garden to establish a mud hole. Use a hose or a bucket of water to wet the earth.
- Squish the soil using your hands, a stick or a shovel, until it reaches a muddy consistency.
- Try to find clay soil. Don’t worry if the mud contains small bits of grass or other plant fibres.
NEST LINING MATERIALS
- Stuff a mesh onion bag with materials such as dead twigs, pine needles, leaves, feathers, moss, dry grass (as long as it’s chemical-free), strips of bark, and plant fluff from plants such as cattails or cottonwood.
- Hang the bag from a clothesline or tree branch in your backyard.
- Some materials that were previously recommended for nesting are now considered unsafe. Do not provide hair (human or animal), string, yarn or loose bits of thread, as birds can become entangled in these materials. Likewise, do not provide pieces of felt or cloth, dryer lint, plastic, tinsel, cellophane or aluminum foil; these can be choking hazards or cause internal blockage.
3. Create a Wild Bee Sanctuary
For a detailed outline visit this link at the David Suzuki Organization
- Fill your yard with flowers
- Plant native
- Go organic
- Add water
b. Make a Bee Bath
Use a shallow plate and place it at the ground level where you’ve noticed bee activity. Place a few flat stones in the plate to create landing pads or islands and safe places to crawl out should they fall in. Add fresh water but don’t submerge the stones. Birds and butterflies will use it, too. Replace the water every few days to eliminate mosquito larvae… more here
Make a bee home
Honeybees and bumblebees live in social colonies, but most wild bee species are solitary. About two-thirds of solitary nesting bees use tunnels in the ground to lay their eggs. About one-third use hollowed-out plant stems or tunnels in dead trees or fallen logs… Want to discover the best homemade housing you can make for bees in your backyard? Read more here
4. Plant a Pollinators Garden
5. Create a Spring Checklist
With your kids, make a checklist of things that make you think of spring. Go on a hike in the forest, check off all of the things that you see and feel on your list. Try to ensure that the list is multi-sensory, so things like feeling the warmth of the sun and different smells of the seasons are also on the list. Feel free to add to the lists as you are walking and noticing more things.
6. Colours of Spring
Pick up some paint chips from a hardware store. On your outdoor adventure, hand them out to your kids and see if they can find matches to many different colours. They may think it’s impossible, but this gets them to really look at items to find a match. Remember to look up, blues often match the sky!
If paint chips are not available to you, crayons will work too.
7. Meet a Tree in your Neighbourhood
Have your kids pick a tree that you really get to know over time. They can get to know it in so many different ways (draw, take bark rubbings, look with a magnifier, or use a camera). In the spring, they will be looking for the buds starting to explode into leaves. Most people think that buds form in the spring, but with careful observation, you will see that buds are actually on the tree all winter!
8. Disc Golf
Get your family involved in this fun, active, burgeoning sport. Peterborough has three easily accessible, free courses for you to enjoy. The courses are at the north end of the Riverview Park and Zoo, TASS, and Hamilton Park just south of Jackson Park. In outlying areas of Peterborough, there is one at Mount Julian Viamede and Ennismore Waterfront Park. Or, you can make your own course anywhere you would like by simply identifying objects as your targets. All you need is a frisbee, or a disc, and a good arm! www.peterboroughdiscgolf.ca
9. Take a Hike
10. Discover the Pathway Robin Cam
A cheery sign of spring’s arrival, the American Robin is one of our most familiar and beloved birds. Watch a female robin live as she incubates her eggs. Enjoy a nesting craft and read-along with ‘Bird Builds a Nest’.
Visit the live nest cam here
Three Activities for Earth Day
Here are three wonderful activities from our Outdoor Activity Consultant, Nature Nancy, to celebrate Earth Day. Enjoy making a ‘Sense Poem’, capture ‘Nature through the Window’, and find out ‘Who Lives Nearby’. Don’t forget to report your Landmark to get points on the Pathway Individual and Group Leaderboards and be entered into the monthly prize draw.
1. SENSE POEM (GR. 3-8)- USING ALL YOUR SENSES TO CREATE A POEM
How many words can you think of to describe the smell of a flower? How many words can you think of to describe the movement of a cat?
Take a sheet of paper and a pencil and find a comfortable place to sit outside. Sit there for several minutes and use all of your senses (likely not taste unless you brought out a snack). Ask yourself all of these questions.
What do I feel?
What do I smell?
What do I see?
What do I hear?
What do I taste (this can be imagined)?
Answer each question with some words that fit with your experience.
For example, I see….bright yellow flowers, fluffy clouds, windy trees, busy ant.
In order to create your sense poem, take away each of the questions and just use the answers that you wrote next to the question. Try your own sense poems and compare on different days/time of day.
Here is my example:
Monday Morning by Nature Nancy
Cool wind, tickling grass, warm sun
Oats roasting, fresh-cut grass, sweet lilac waft
Bright yellow flowers, fluffy clouds, windy trees, busy ant
Honk, vroom, screech, caw, buzz, whoosh, chirp chirp Chocolate…Mmmmmm!
2. Nature Through the Window (Gr. 3-8)- Creating a Frame in a window to observe and draw the out of doors
You will be looking at nature from inside and out. Follow these steps:
1. Make a frame using a piece of construction paper (or plain white paper) by cutting out a rectangle from the middle.
2. Find a window in your home and place the frame on it. You may be looking at a combination of things in nature and human-made items outside. Move your frame around the window and see if it changes what you see. What do you see? Birds, trees, weather, insects, flowers….roads, buildings? How did your scene change when you moved the frame?
3. Compare the smells, sounds, and feeling you detect when you are inside and compare that to when you go outside.
4. Leave your construction paper frame on a part of your window and sketch what you see through the frame.
3. Who Lives Nearby? (Gr. 1-6) Creating a map of your neighbourhood and finding evidence of other creatures sharing our habitat.
- With paper and pencil in hand, walk around your neighbourhood and observe
examples of creatures living in this habitat.
- In order to do this, you will need to make a map of the area that you are
observing. When you find evidence of different creatures that you recognize then
record it on your map. See the example to the left.
- For example, you may see a robin’s nest in a tree and will mark that on your map where it was found in your neighbourhood. Enjoy!
Soaring Towards 10,000!
Pathway Explorers have been busy logging Landmarks and we’ve reached a record number, soaring towards our goal of 10,000 Landmarks! The winter provided so many new and exciting activities for our community and photos have warmed our hearts. We’re already at 3,216 – incredible work!
We’ve had some super ideas from families and other groups this winter proving – rain, snow or shine – it’s great to be outdoors. Some of our favourites include:
- The Chickadees celebrated the winter season and made garlands out of edible items for their wintering friends in the woods. They decorated with Cheerios, raisins, raisins, peanuts, air-popped popcorn, oranges, and pomegranate peel shaped with cookie cutters. Such a creative way to explore Landmark 11 – Celebrate Each Season
- The Myles Family took advantage of a cold snap and when Rogers Cove was transformed into a giant outdoor rink. They went skating on the open ice, feeling the effects of the wind and listening to the deep sounds of the ice. It was so much fun they went back the next day!
- Children at the Compass Early Learning and Care-Home Childcare Program built a snowman this season! They used snowballs, stacked them, and added a face and a “unicorn horn”. They wondering if any animals might come nibble on the carrot nose and horn.
- After a beautiful dump of perfect snow early in the week, the grade 5s and 6s from Mrs. Monti and Mrs. Belk’s classes from Millbrook South Cavan Public School explored Medd’sMountain on snowshoes as part of the Think Outside program with Nature Nancy. The snow was deep enough to see how effective snowshoes really are. The Millbrook trail system is a close walk from the school and has amazing trees to walk through, marvel at, and use for hiding during a game of “Reggie the Squirrel”.
- Camp Kawartha worked with the Grade 8s at Highland Heights! They engaged in a variety of team-building activities that the students absolutely loved! They completed activities aimed at working together to balance a ball while traveling. They amped up the challenge by placing the stand that the ball had to sit on, on top of a snowbank!
- Immaculate Conception made suncatchers from collected materials and positioned them in the pan. Despite a warm spell, they were so happy when the temperature dropped and they saw their sun catchers come to life!
Home Sweet Home:
Build or install a nest box this spring!
Here’s a great spring activity to try at home or at school. Nest boxes provide wonderful habitat for many kinds of birds, and having avian families in your yard gives hours of enjoyment watching these feathered miracles.
In nature, holes in trees are prime real estate for wildlife. In fact, many kinds of birds need these holes, called ‘cavities’ for building their nests and raising their young. Especially in urban areas, dead or dying trees are usually removed, leaving a scarcity of nesting sites for our bird neighbours.
Luckily, nest boxes are quite easy to build with a few simple tools and some understanding of what birds need for protection from weather and predators. While there are many specialized types of nest boxes for specific species, a good basic design is suitable for many small birds such as chickadees, wrens, and nuthatches.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- nest boxes need enough space for a nest full of baby birds and access for parents
- the correct size of the entrance hole is important; it should be near the top of the box;
- nest boxes must be cleaned out every year, so make sure you can open up the box, and reseal it safely
- don’t put a perch on your box; birds don’t need it, but perches can help predators reach the young birds
- don’t paint or put a finish on your box; birds prefer untreated, natural wood
- provide ventilation and drainage; a few small holes near the top provide ventilation, and small holes in the floor allow moisture to drain
- use a predator guard to protect the entrance hole from being chewed by squirrels or other mammals who would destroy the eggs or young birds; a metal plate or piece of thick wood are effective (see examples)
- install securely at least 6 feet from the ground; avoid nailing into trees – a pole or post are ideal
Here are some plans for a simple nest box you can build from a 4 ft. piece of 1 X 6″ lumber
Chickadee Nest Box Plans from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Note: Entrance hold diameter is 1″ for House Wrens; Use 1 1/8″ diameter for Black-Capped Chickadees; 1 1/4″ for White-Breasted and Red-Breasted Nuthatches
Join the Pathway #LandmarkChallenge
Got screen fatigue? Need an excuse to get outdoors with the family, build memories and enjoy activities that encourage kids to love learning? Well, this Family Day, the Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship is challenging every family to log ONE Landmark activity between Feb 15 and Feb 21. Discover all 30 Landmarks here.
For residents of Ontario, there is a daily prize draw for a $50 gift certificate to a local business. Simply REGISTER AND REPORT your Landmark at pathwayproject.ca or tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the #LandmarkChallenge.
Our goal is 10,000 Landmark activities. Let’s do it together! Thanks for helping make this the best Family Week ever, by joining the Pathway #LandmarkChallenge!
We gratefully acknowledge the support of
Looking for a fun winter activity for all ages? Here is a free winter Bingo game cards from the Pathway!
Visit a special place, explore your senses, discover winter themed words and most of all, have fun!
This winter bingo helps with Landmarks 1,3,4 and 7.
Landmark 1. Explore outdoors together at least an hour a wee.
Landmark 3. Exercise the senses daily.
Landmark 4. Visit a favourite outdoor place each week throughout all seasons.
Landmark 7Share a nature-based picture book, song, poem or game each week.