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Children and Family Event: Amphibian Adventure

by Carolann Verrioli

Children and Family Event: Amphibian Adventure at Cumming Nature Center

On Saturday, June 4th, members of our low vision children and family programming were welcomed at the Cumming Nature Center in Naples, NY. There, they were introduced to Winona Brown, the Naturalist Educator who guided the group through a fantastic experience in the park to learn about amphibians. Winona was a master at getting everyone involved, asking and answering questions about nature. She introduced a collection of gray tree frogs who chirped cheerfully as the group got to feel their skin and learn about their lifestyles and adaptations. Children also were able to feel and learn about a yellow spotted salamander. Afterwards, Winona handed out fishing nets and they went on a sensory walk that would end with catching tadpoles and frogs. 

As they meandered the trails, Winona challenged the group to listen to the sounds around them, to pay attention to the smells they noticed as she presented different plant items or clods of dirt.  At one point, she stopped the group to sit in a circle for a mystery bag sensory guessing game. She encouraged the group to feel an item from nature hiding inside a paper lunch bag, describe, it, and hold off on guessing what it might be.

The group really enjoyed sharing their likes and dislikes, and comparing their ideas.  Interesting conversations were inspired by the memories certain smells or sensations evoked. The group then went further into the landscape to explore by touch, sight, smell, and sound, the trees in a specific clearing.  They moved on to an area in the sunshine where they sat and listened to a telling of an old Ojibwas Native American tale about How the Bat came to be.  Winona held the group in rapt attention as she animatedly told this tale about a squirrel who suffered in its efforts to save the sun from being trapped in the treetops.  The squirrel had lost its sight but the sun gave it the gift of flight and the ability to see by a great sense of hearing.  The group played a game modeled after Marco Polo called Bats and Moths to practice echolocation.

After that, Winona led the group who talked, and giggled, and walked to the pond where they had the option to take off their socks and shoes to wade into the pond to catch tadpoles and frogs. Many of the group had never seen tadpoles before and were thrilled at the enormous number of them and the way they wiggled around.  Some even felt the tadpoles nibbling (gently) on their fingertips.

After loads of fun sharing surprising discoveries of snakes and newts, the group headed back to finish the event with a lemonade and cookies.  They celebrated the fun they had, performed the raffle, and congratulated the participants for the new salamander sticker in their passports. 

They entered the puffy Salamander sticker into their adventurer  passports and talked about the future events to consider.

Our next Children and Family event, Bubbles, Water Beads, and Games, Oh My! is planned for Friday, June 24th at the Exploration Station play area behind the Goodwill main campus.

Register at the link below:

Bubbles, Water Beads, & Games, Oh My! June 24, 2022 from 12:00-3:00PM (