Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tyke Hike #23 - Hartland

Thirty-five hikers headed out to the Ice Age Trail Community of Hartland for the latest Tyke Hike, With a focus on marshes, Mother Nature supported our quest with marvelous weather.

After introductions and some basic trail and hiking information, it was off to the marsh. Our first stop was at the boardwalk where we all viewed the cattails and other marsh plant and listened to am ornithological orchestra. We discussed their importance of marshes and even chatted about how Wisconsin's biggest city was once basically a marsh of wild rice and waterfowl.

The it was off to the "magic tree." Healthy and vibrant up top and hollow and crumbling at the base, it seems magical that this tree still stands. I'm glad it does as it is always a favorite photo op for families.

Before we crossed the road to get to the marsh, we had to take a moment to talk about alien invasions. Once I got the attention of the kids, we likened invasive species to aliens and how they come to our land and steal the air, water, sun, soil, and space our native plants need. I pulled a little bit of garlic mustard and encouraged the families to do what they could to to help our native plant thrive. It is important for the masrh and all other habitats.

Just as we headed over to the lookout, I previewed the chimney that was there and its purpose of being a safe haven for migrating chimney swifts. While we didn't see any swifts on the hike, while we chatted about them, a pair of sandhill cranes flew overhead and splashed down in the marsh.

Once at the picnic shelter, Ms. Claudia, librarian from the Hartland Library, shared a few bird stories and led all participating children in a bird craft that they "flew" all the way home.

I forgot to snap a group shot before some families had to leave early, but we took one anyway of many remaining hikers after the craft. then we headed back and handed out certificates and schedules for all parties.

Another Tyke Hike in the books! I only hope the weather is a review of what's to come.

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