Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tyke Hike #2 - Wildlife and Wild Times at Monches

Did you know Wisconsin's state animal was the eagle? Or that the state insect was the beetle? How about Wisconsin's state fish being the shark?  Well, though these responses were entertaining, I am happy to announce that these misconceptions, though quite entertaining, were cleared up at tonight's Tyke Hike.

Earlier in the day, my daughter and I scouted our desired path and set up our very own Wildlife Quiz right along the trail. As we embarked on the journey, I told the kids there would be a quiz, though they would all get A's.  However, participation points would be awarded for extra credit. We focused on many important animals of Wisconsin, including the badger, white-tailed deer, dairy cow, robin, muskellunge, and honey bee. The history geek in me told the tale of the naming of the badger state based on the miners that came to Wisconsin as part of the Lead Rush. The kids seemed to enjoy the trick question about there being no boy cows in Wisconsin. . . get it  ;)  Though we briefly discussed the honey bee and the importance it has in our state (and the 16 others who have it as their state insect), our insect talk focused on mosquitoes. The robin was brought up during our birds discussion which led us to talking about it being a sign of spring.  I mentioned that the killdeer technically returns before the robin, but hearing its shriek, it's no surprise we correlate spring with the beautiful song of the robin.

The tykes were very knowledgeable, especially about the four seasons and how animals need to do different things for survival in Wisconsin's cold winter. We discussed hibernation, migration, and activation, even detailing some of the step animals do to prepare for the cold months.  We even had a "prepare-for-winter" moment as the kids started collecting acorns, much like our furry friends will soon do.

In the first Tyke Hike, I talked a bit about Increase Lapham. I touched a little on Carl Schurz tonight. At the next hike, I am sure Aldo Leopold will be mentioned. That leaves John Muir left.  Many would put these four on the Mount Rushmore of Wisconsin conservationism.

Overall, a beautiful night for a Tyke Hike. Plus, we added a new element.  A yet-to-be-named plush mammoth made the rounds among the children throughout the hike tonight. I guess you'll have to join us on August 28th at the Hartland Marsh to see it in person.

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