Forest scavenger hunt kicks off school vacation week
School vacation week kicked off with sunshine and near-summer temperatures as families from all over the South Coast and even Rhode Island headed to Dartmouth to walk the trails on April 20.
Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust led scavenger hunt walks through three of its properties on Tuesday morning.
Around two dozen people — including 15 kids — turned up to DNRT’s Paskamansett Woods on Chase Road, listening as the land trust’s board president and volunteer Lorraine Granda described local flora and fauna.
Granda handed out cards with sixteen activities for the kids to find and accomplish, including smelling a flower, listening to insects, finding a sparkly rock, and touching moss.
“This is a different kind of scavenger hunt, because we’re going to touch some things, we’re going to look at things,” she told participants. “But we’re not going to take anything back with us, because we want to leave it the way we found it.”
“We want to instill a love of nature,” Granda noted. “You don’t need a lot of things to have a good time out in the woods. You just need a sense of adventure. And that’s what we hope to instill.”
“DNRT is trying to offer more and more of these types of activities,” she added. “Because I tell ya, these trails have been well used during this pandemic, and have brought a lot of people a lot of comfort.”
The kids learned about pine cones and how forest fires can actually help pine seeds open and grow, found a snail and a bumblebee, touched tree bark and moss, and listened to birdsong.
Granda handed out small magnifying glasses for the kids to look for ants and examine deer tracks on the forest floor.
They also heard how the centuries-old stone bridge over the Paskamansett River fell down and was rebuilt in 2004.
The bridge formed part of an old route between Plymouth and Tiverton called the King’s Road after Wampanoag sachem Metacomet, also known as King Philip.
Four-year-old Ivy Gauthier and her brother Brody, 10, came out from Coventry, Rhode Island to spend time with grandmother Linda Gauthier of Rochester.
“We’re always in the woods, we love walking in the woods,” Linda said.
“I love coming out. It’s really pretty,” Brody said. “I love the smell of everything. It’s really natural.”
Meanwhile eight-year-old Simon Pais of Fall River said that he was looking for snakes.
“Mom doesn’t like snakes, so I want to find a King Cobra,” he laughed.
His older brother Tiago, 10, said he was looking for birds that he hasn’t seen before.
“We enjoy being outdoors. We go to a lot of different trails, and always want to bring the kids outdoors as well,” said Jamie Alves of Acushnet, adding that the weather was beautiful.
Her daughter Acadia Alves, 7, was exploring with her two best friends, seven-year-old twins Kendall and Morgan LaFrance of New Bedford.
Morgan said that she wants to work at a zoo when she grows up, noting that her favorite animals are turtles, especially sea turtles, pandas, and penguins.
“I want to dig fossils,” said Acadia, explaining that she wants to be a palaeontologist.
When asked about her favorite dinosaur, she didn’t hesitate. “T-rex!”