Would you believe us if we told you that nature has superpowers? At SPREE’s Spring Break Camp, we learned all about the super senses of many Colorado animals- some animals in our state have superior sight, hearing or touch than us humans. This week we explored them all!
This week kicked off the Spring High School River Rangers teaching days by participating in our March SPREE After School! For the first week of March SPREE After School, two of our River Rangers, Tori & Hailey observed our SPREE educators as they taught the kiddos about animal shelters & practiced our observation skills.
Tori, a returning River Ranger and previous SPREE camper helped teach Hailey how to critter crawl.. leading to Hailey catching her FIRST crawdad ever!! BIG moment in the SPREE world! No one forgets their first crawdad catch.
We are so excited for the rest of our four River Rangers to participate in SPREE After School this month, and for many more big SPREE moments for both them and the kiddos!
Week 4: SPring is here!
After a chilly Critter Crawl, where the SPREE team, River Rangers Adele and Montze, and campers caught only one crawdad, we headed back to the classroom to warm up. Campers were able to make soap using the track molds from last week’s lesson as a graduation gift. Campers got to choose their favorite animal track to make their soap out of and they turned out so cute! After our graduation ceremony, we ended camp by playing a few rounds of Pictionary while we waited for parents. We had so much fun over the last month with our After School campers and can’t wait for Spring Break Camp next week!
Week 3: Whose track is that?
Week 2: Whose Scat is that?
After all the excitement of Critter Crawl, we headed back to the classroom for even more fun activities. Campers learned about all different kinds of scat and what they can tell us about animals. Does the size of the scat tell us if the animal is big or small? What does the scat shape tell us about what they eat? As always, campers were on it and easily identified the animals and their scat.
Finally, campers learned about the difference between bird scat and a bird pellet. A pellet, often referred to as a casting, is a mass of undigested parts of a bird’s food, like bones and fur and is a way for birds of prey, like hawks and owls, to remove these from their digestive system. You can tell a lot about a bird’s diet by dissecting these pellets. And that is exactly what campers did!
Although some were hesitant at first, campers had a blast dissecting pellets and we discovered all kinds of bones, like teeth, jaws, leg bones, and even a full rodent skull! The SPREE team may have even had more fun than the campers!
Week 1: Holes, Burrows, & Nests, Oh My!
To celebrate Black History Month, TGF is highlighting some of the inspiring black leaders in the Denver community, striving to make lasting change within environmental education, conservation, and beyond. When researching for this project, I came across Sandra Douglas, referenced by many who have worked with her as Miss Sandy. As the Community Connector for the Cole Neighborhood, SPREE has worked with her in the past to make outdoor education accessible to this community. When I had the pleasure of speaking with Miss Sandy about her work, I could hear the sounds of a busy kitchen in the background. Sure enough, she told me “Sorry honey, I’m busy cooking up a hundred pounds of potatoes”. At that point, I knew I was talking to someone who cared deeply about this community and that I could not tell her story better than she could. Keep reading to learn more of Miss Sandy’s story, in her words.
In the past 10 months, the Nautilus has been passively collecting trash along the north side of the Cherry Creek between Blake Street and Market Street. The Water Connection (TWC) is excited to share some trash stats for what has been collected!
SPREE teachers had such a great time the last 4 Wednesday afternoons for SPREE After School! We learned a lot together with our students through our many experiments, crafts, and critter crawls!
Our first week, which was the last week of October, had a spooky atmosphere. We went down to critter crawl where we pulled out many critters with eerie lifestyles. Crawdads, which are one of our favorite river dwellers, are actually scavengers. That means they eat dead things! We caught probably 10-15 crawdads together this day! We also learned about the unhinged jaws of dragonfly larvae, and the tearing mouth parts of mayfly larvae!
After critter crawl, we had an engineering craft to help us thaw out. We made spider launchers! First we made spiders from pipe cleaners, and then using rubber bands and recycled materials, we constructed a web-like launcher. SPREE teachers were impressed because all our students’ launchers worked better than teachers!
Bad news bears, Denverites. We have a new invasive in town. The New Zealand Mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) has been spotted in a few places along the South Platte River now. It hasn't spread everywhere yet, so learn more below about this harmful critter and what you can do to make sure we don't let it spread any further.