The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust kicked off the fall/winter session of its Hikes for Tykes program on Thursday September 8 with a walk around the organisation’s Star of the Sea reserve near Padanaram Harbour.
The monthly program takes preschoolers and their parents on short hikes through different DNRT properties, teaching them lessons along the way.
The land trust launched the program earlier this year with the first six-month session running in the spring.
“People loved it, so we’re doing it again,” said development and outreach specialist Kendra Parker.
This month’s hike focused on apples and cheekbones, led by DNRT volunteer and board member Lynne Cotter, a retired elementary school teacher.
Before embarking on the hike, Cotter showed the group some yoga poses to help them relax and get into the spirit of the hike.
Along the way, the group stopped to identify a variety of foliage like winter and tea berries, as well as mushrooms growing near the path.
When the hikers reached a clearing, they paused to listen to a story told by Cotter.
The story was about a little boy who was sent to find a “little red house with no door and a star inside”.
Although the boy searched everywhere, asking everyone he met to help him find the house, no one could help him. But the answer finally revealed itself to him in an orchard when the wind blew an apple from a tree.
When Cotter finished the story, she took her own “little red house” out of her bag and cut it in half to show the star formed by the apple seeds.
After the young hikers munched on slices of apple, they continued on, eventually finding their way to a path that stretched through the tall grass that borders the harbour.
There, they spotted herons fishing in the shallows and fiddler crabs darting maniacally between the reeds before turning around to return to the parking lot.
Before leaving however, Cotter and Parker had one last surprise for them: a take-out arts and crafts activity that they could use to make their own pair of apple-shaped glasses out of paper.
Hikes for Tykes will continue on October 13 with a ride through the Ridge Hill Preserve where kids will learn about fall and the leaves.
The program is scheduled to run monthly through June 2023. For more information or to register, visit dnrt.org/event/hikes-for-tykes.