Nature center offers fun and learning each Saturday
The best way to change people’s hearts? Start when they’re young! Witness any kindergarten classroom activity and see how much children understand, and how willing they are to soak up new information. Hence the phrase, “Children are sponges.”
The Bethany Beach Nature Center soaks this fact up.
Every week, the center offers educational activities for children from 10:30 a.m. to noon, even in the dead of winter. For example, this past week, the children read two stories on recycling and made a hand puppet out of recycled material.
The books read this week by Center for the Inland Bays educator Karen Knight were “The Three R’s” and “I Can Save the Ocean.” The children learned all about reducing, reusing and recycling, and the importance of not littering, as well as educating friends and neighbors to help make sure the ocean is kept clean.
Afterward, they made hand puppets out of old scraps, fabrics and other things lying around the house that might otherwise get thrown out. They also heard from volunteer Chris Congleton on how he made plant pots into lampshades, coffee containers into drums and even pie plates into decorative toys to play with.
“It’s really informal and fun,” said volunteer Nancy Lucy of the nature center’s educational activities.
Justin, a 6-year-old who comes often to the Nature Center to check out the Saturday lesson and craft, said he especially liked to “see the bats flying” at their recent lesson on the importance of bats and all they do for the environment. (They can eat up to 600 mosquitoes an hour)
Taylor, also 6, summed up what she likes about coming to the Bethany Beach Nature Center, “I like learning!”
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays and the Town of Bethany Beach have established a partnership to provide nature experiences and watershed education at the center. The 26-acre conservation area includes forested uplands, freshwater uplands and tidal wetlands, and a nature trail to help visitors check it all out.
The Bethany Beach Nature Center’s indoor facility is located inside the historic Addy Cottage, which was moved to the site and restored by the Town of Bethany Beach.
In addition to the trail, which is open from dawn to dusk, there is a handicapped-accessible boardwalk where educational signs abound. Inside the center, visitors can explore the watershed virtually, through the high-tech “I-wall.”
Next up at the center is “Hibernation Habits” on Feb. 5. That will be followed by “Bird Adaptations” on Feb. 12, “What is a Pond” on Feb. 19 and “Around the Pond: Who’s There?” on Feb. 26, all from 10:30 a.m. to noon. There is no charge, but children must be accompanied by an adult.