Get down and dirty with Burr Ridge Park District wetlands classes
Participants in last year's wetland classes caught frogs while learning about the abundant wildlife that lives in Heritage Park.
Updated: July 23, 2012 1:45AM
Being a kid is a dirty business. That is, if it’s done right.
Children 4 to 8 years old are invited to spend Tuesday evenings this summer in the wetlands of Harvester Park, where they’ll catch frogs, watch for birds and even examine animal poop, all in the name of good, clean fun.
“You might get messy,” said Sherry Stednitz, who teaches the Wetland Classes.
With the exception of July 3, these outdoor exploration classes are held weekly from June 12 through Aug. 7 in the recently restored wetlands behind the Burr Ridge Community Center. Each week, children will explore some aspect of wetland life, from the effect of pollution and erosion to the animals that live there.
“I add on each year,” said Stednitz, who began teaching the classes two years ago. The subject changes each week, and each session aims to teach children not only about the wetlands themselves, but about the environment overall.
This summer’s weekly sessions begin with a new class that aims to teach youngsters about pollution and erosion. Wetlands Scientists, for 4- and 5-year-olds, and Rangers and Rangerettes, for children 6 to 8 years old, include experiments and activities that will teach children about the delicate balance of the wetlands ecosystem.
No matter the subject, Stednitz said the wetland wildlife almost always cooperate with the evening’s activities.
“Every class I have held, we always see something,” she said.
She and her wetlands explorers have spotted deer, herons, egrets and lots of frogs, among other things.
“Unfortunately, we always happen to see a snake or two,” Stednitz said.
New this year is a class dedicated to seeking out the homes of nighttime creatures. While bats don’t typically show up during daylight hours, Stednitz will lead 4- and 5-year-olds on a hunt for the places they call home during Going Batty on June 26.
Older children will hunt for other signs of creatures in residence during Scat That!, which is a nice way of saying that, along with footprints and fur, explorers will learn to identify animal droppings.
“It’s a favorite, for obvious reasons,” Stednitz said.
Scat That is set for July 10.
Four- and 5-year-olds meet at 5 p.m. each Tuesday. Six- to 8-year-olds meet at 6:30 p.m. Each 75-minute class includes a snack and a craft. Cost is $12 per class for residents, $15 for non-residents.
Call (630) 920-1969 for more information or to register.