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Day 9: Search for a vernal pool, the Curtis Farm Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book and a nature riddle

Outdoor activity ideas and inspiration

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) posted a simple outdoor activity idea and nature riddle for kids every weekday. Some days we also posted other resources, like downloadable chapters of the Junior Ranger Activity Book.

Created to support parents who found themselves homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, these activity ideas are a great jumping off point for any outdoor adventure. Click here for a list with links to all 50 activity ideas.

Nature riddle

This mystery animal has two interesting ways of escaping predators.This animal has poison glands on its back and neck, which excrete a milky toxic liquid when the animal is threatened. And this animal can drop off its tail or limbs when attacked. They do this to distract the predator and give themselves time to get away. They can regenerate the missing body part in a few months. Click here for the answer and to read more about this interesting creature.

Search for a vernal pool

Vernal pools are small water bodies in the woods that dry up at some point during the summer or fall. Since they dry up, they cannot support fish, which makes them a great place for some frogs and salamanders to lay their eggs.

During the first warm rains of spring, frogs and salamanders migrate from their forest homes to vernal pools to reproduce. It is so cool to see wood frogs, spotted salamanders and/or the egg masses they leave behind!

Wood frog eggs (left) and Yellow spotted salamander eggs (right). (Curt Chipman photo)

Click here for a great resource about vernal pools for kids. It includes a web comic, coloring book pages and a song.

Exploring the vernal pool at the Hackett and Minot trails. (Jen Nadeau photo)

Curtis Farm Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book

The Junior Ranger Activity Book includes engaging science content, activity ideas and trail maps! It’s a great resource to learn about and explore nature and get outdoors, even if you don’t live near Harpswell. The book was created by Emma Levy, who was a high school senior when she wrote it. Click here for more about the book.

You can download the entire book, chapter by chapter, from our outdoor activity ideas posts.

Click here for the Curtis Farm Preserve chapter of the book, which includes “the pebble,” invasive species and a diy treasure hunt. Check out the introduction for instructions for the treasure hunt.

If you would like a physical copy of the whole book, you can order it on our website for just $5 + $4 shipping. Click here to order.