This past Saturday Jan. 18th, we met at the EBNHC offices on a drizzly day to load up the van and drive just a half hour south of Boston to the Blue Hills. Jeff, Sharon, and Geoff from ICO, Liz and Gabrielle from EBNHC, and 9 EBNHC kids met at the museum and ran inside to escape the rain/sleet to have an opening circle and explore the great exhibits inside. One of the naturalists brought out a large snake skin that was really long (see picture) as well as a live snake! The kids all named their favorite animals (snakes, large cats, bears, and other cool animals were popular), and we had a quick snack and then explored the many museum exhibits.
The museum had a great indoor collection of both live (and not-so-live) animal and habitat exhibits of animals found across MA and in the Blue Hills. Various live animals, including a barn owls, opossums, various mice/voles, a skunk, and even a rattlesnake were on display inside. As the rain turned into snow, we ventured outside to the live outdoor animal exhibits to see hawks, vultures, deer, river otters, and other great animals on display - and even feed some of the ducks in the pond. The snowy owls on display were actually rescued after a run-in with an airplane at Logan Airport - so they're practically neighbors with the kids!
After a lunch of cold cuts and PB&J sandwiches, we gathered inside the auditorium for the live animal presentation - which was a red-shouldered hawk that was rescued from the football field in nearby Canton high school (one of the kids speculated that he may have just been wanting t be a member of the football team if they had a hawk mascot). We learned about different bird attributes and how their beaks, claws, eyes, and wings are all adapted to their habitats and how they hunt. and got to ask questions about all the animals in the museum and around the Blue Hills.
As the sleet turned all the way to snow, we finally got to go outside for a beautiful hike on one of the lightly-sloped trails, where all the snow was beautifully clinging to all the tree branches. We had plenty of fun forming snowballs and building snowmen and practicing using hiking poles to steady our balance on slippery trails (thanks Geoff!). Then we all gathered in the parking lot and listed our favorite parts of the day before heading back home. A big thanks to Emma and the rest of the staff at the Trailside Museum for a great day.
Photos of the trip can be found here: