Monthly Archives: December 2012

Young Naturalists Club Identify Signs of Winter Animals!

Extra, extra, read all about it! The Young Naturalists had a great time outside last weekend! Our returning guest author and Young Naturalists leader, Kristen, wanted to share what they did with you!

The Young Naturalists Club met on Sunday, December 16th to learn how to identify signs of animals that stay at Ashland Nature Center over the winter. We learned how to identify deer, rabbits, fox, raccoon, and skunks by their scat, tracks and fur! 

These Young Naturalists studying the tracks and other animal evidence they may see on the trail!

These Young Naturalists are studying the tracks and other animal evidence they may see on the trail! Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.


We set out on a hike to try to find signs of these animals.  Along our way, we stopped to build a campfire and roasted marshmallows. We found deer and raccoon tracks along the creek side. 

Roasting marshmallows over a campfire at Wildflower Brook.

Young Naturalists roasting marshmallows over a campfire at Wildflower Brook, they look delicious! Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.

Looking in the soft mud along the side of the creek is a great place to find animal tracks!

The soft mud along the side of the creek is a great place to find animal tracks! Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.


After we had our fill of warm, sugary marshmallows – we hiked up Sledding Hill to find more deer tracks and scat, as well as fox scat.

Fields, like the one along Sledding Hill, is a great place to find animal scat!

Fields, like the one along Sledding Hill, is a great place to find animal scat! Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.

As we walked along the Red Clay Creek floodplain, we found raccoon scat and tracks – and even some signs of rabbits gnawing at the base of a tree! 

After our long hike, we warmed up inside with some hot chocolate and made a special ornament using our own hand print!


Thanks for sharing Kristen! I think it’s super cool you guys found so many different kinds of tracks and scat!

Last weekend was the last Young Naturalists Club for the year, stay tuned to hear about what the Young Naturalists will be up to when the warmer weather returns! If you’re interested in joining the Young Naturalists Club on their adventures, sign up now! Members can register online at or you may call us at (302) 239 – 2334.


This is our last blog post of 2012! Anna, myself, and the entire Delaware Nature Society staff wish you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Young Naturalists Club Learns About The Lenape!

Hey there! The Young Naturalists Club had another great adventure a couple weeks ago!  The Young Naturalists leader and our returning guest author, Kristen Sensabaugh, wrote about their experience. Check it out!

On Sunday, November 25th the Young Naturalists club met at Ashland Nature Center to learn about the Lenni-Lenape Native Americans that lived in Delaware!  We started our adventure by walking along the flood plain to learn how the Lenape would have used the different plants, like cattails – and animals, like painted turtles, that live in the marsh.  We stopped along the banks of the Red Clay Creek and talked about how they would have used a weir to catch fish!

This fishing weir in the Red Clay Creek is just like one the Lenape would have built when they lived on this land. This photo was snapped in the summer time when the water wasn’t too cold to stand in!

We hiked to the replica longhouse and got to touch artifacts like a drum & bow and arrow.  We also touched deer fur, deer hide and compared them to hides of other animals like the beaver and rabbit. We talked about how the different furs would have been used.

After our hike we warmed up inside and designed our own clay pots! We played Lenape games while our pots dried!

Thanks for sharing Kristen, that sounded like a great day!  Teaching about the Native Americans has been a long standing tradition at the Delaware Nature Society. Here are some pictures from our archives!

Students get to dress in Native American clothing and spend time learning about the Lenape culture in the longhouse!

These are some Lenape artifacts! The Young Naturalists made clay pots similar to these!

This summer camp spent time in the old Lenape Longhouses at Ashland Nature Center. This one is long gone, but we have two more longhouses that kids play and learn in year round!


The Young Naturalists have one more adventure planned for this year:

Sunday, December 16th 1-4pm – They will be learning about and searching for signs of animals in the winter!

When the warm weather return’s the Young Naturalists will be out trying to catch reptiles, amphibians, and fish!

If you’re interested in joining the Young Naturalists Club on their adventures, sign up now! Members can register online at or you may call us at (302) 239 – 2334.

Have Yourself An Environmentally Friendly Season!

Hey kids! It’s that time of year where houses are beautifully lit up and presents eagerly wait to be unwrapped! Anna and I have been busy shopping and wrapping presents for our family and friends, and I’m sure you’ve been busy doing the same for your family! In the excitement of the season, Anna and I have not forgotten that this time of year can be a little tough on the environment. We wanted to share some ways you can be conscious of your impact on the environment and reduce your energy and carbon consumption this holiday season!

1. Recycle your wrapping paper or use newspaper instead! A lot of wrapping paper just gets thrown away after presents are unwrapped. If you use wrapping paper, recycle it! Or use newspaper to wrap your presents and recycle that too. The comic’s section is always very colorful!

I used newspaper to wrap a friend’s present! I like that it looks like a collage!

2. If you celebrate Christmas, your used tree can be put in the yard near your bird feeders so that your feathered friends can use it for cover and safety.  A better alternative is to buy a balled and burlapped tree that you bring into your house and decorate, but plant in your yard after the holidays.   If you don’t have a lot of room in your yard, you can donate the tree to a friend or non-profit who will plant it in a permanent home in the ground.

3. Reuse the decorations from your presents!  Grab a plastic container and stash all the bags, bows, ribbons, etc. from your presents. You can save them and use them again next year, or for birthdays!

4. Everyone loves putting up lights outside their house, but these lights use a lot of energy! Put your lights on timers so your lights are on only when it’s dark outside. They don’t need to be on during the day, they don’t look as pretty when it’s light outside! Also, don’t leave your lights on all night, turn them off when you go to sleep. You could also buy LED lights, they use less energy than the incandescent lights.

Anna is all about the LED lights!

5. Shop local! Instead of paying more for the same or similar items, shop at thrift stores and used book stores for gifts! Support local businesses in your town, you can find lots of unique items!

6. Instead of purchasing material gifts, make a donation to a non-profit organization like the Delaware Nature Society! DNS staff member Brenna donates to the National Wildlife Federation and receives a stuffed animal in return! She loves supporting this organization, and has donated every year for the past 3 years!  Gift memberships are always a good idea.

Brenna loves the stuffed animals she receives from the National Wildlife Federation. She keeps them in her office!

7. And our last tip…regift! If your little brother loves a toy you’ve grown out of, give it to him! Or if your friend always compliments a shirt you often wear, give it to her! Giving something meaningful to a sibling or friend will make the gift all the more special!


We hope you found these tips helpful and that you will put some of them into action! Anna and I wish you a fun and environmentally friendly holiday season!