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Junior Naturalists is about to begin! So if you're looking for an alternative to the Saturday morning cartoons for your kids, sign them up soon! We have an exciting and educational program planned this year for kids from age 5 years to 8th grade. All participants will be grouped with others their own age and will meet together with their leaders from 10-11:30 A.M. every other Saturday morning beginning January 13th.

We are proud to introduce our six leaders (each of will be assisted by a specially chosen Jr. Volunteer) and what they are planning to do with their group:

5 Year Olds- 1st Grade: The two youngest groups will be using all their senses as they guess mystery objects and smells, explore the woods in winter, make friends with the skunks and turtles, listen to stories, play games, and join in crafts that relate to each of their activities. Along with feeding the ducks and observing the wild birds from our bird restaurant, the vista room, the children will be making feeders for their own homes.

Leaders: Sally Driver is excited about sharing her enthusiasm with the youngest group, as she is a mother of an energetic youngster herself. Having recently moved to Troy from Michigan where she used to teach elementary school, Sally brings many new ideas to the program.

Christie Dickinson, now on the teaching staff at BNC almost 5 months, is working hard to think back to first grade and all the things that first graders like to do. Having spent a summer with 8 groups of Head Start children at the Kalamazoo Nature Center ought to help. She's excited about really challenging the youngsters in her group.

2nd - 4th grade: This active age group will be experimenting with such things as plant growth and snow and ice. The animals will play a major role in an adaptations unit and the group will have fun using microscopes to explore mini-animals and natural objects. The participants will stretch their imaginations in order to role play various animals and Indian activities. Many hours will be spent exploring the woods in winter and games will be used to supplement the learning process. 

Leaders: The younger of this age group will join Tim Schumann, also a new resident of this area. Tim comes from Pittsburgh, Pa. where he worked with school groups of all ages as a naturalist for Beechwood Farms Audubon Center. As a result, Tim brings with him many new and creative ideas to share. 

Mary Beth Hayes will take on the older of this age group. As the Animal Rehabilitation Specialist, Mary Beth has learned a lot this past fall that she can share with the Jr. Naturalists.

5th-6th grade: Scavenger hunts, map and compass reading, animal tracking, bird walks and pioneer life will be just a few of the activities that will be getting this group outside each session. They will learn animal care and handling, use of binoculars to get a better look at the birds of the area, practice using all their senses and many other skills useful to a young naturalist.

Leader: Bill Varney is the true veteran Junior Naturalist leader with many skills to share with eager young adults. Having spent some time working with the Dayton Museum of Natural Histroy, and many years working with the BNC Jr. Volunteers and Nature Lore Day Camp, he will be an exciting leader.

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