What did my kids need for their adventure as young naturalists? A backpack provided and filled by Hamptons’ own Nature Museum (SOFO) with a pair of binoculars, magnifiers, a compass, sample containers, scavenger hunt cards, sketch pads, bottles of water, a spade and nature guides!
And an enthusiastic expert from SOFO – Crystal – to teach them, point out to them, and guide them through their exploration of nature. And, of course, curiosity.
My children were going on an excursion as young naturalists. Like early pioneers who explored the country using only what they could carry in a pack.
Instead of trying to find the largest stick to play with, my kids began searching for plants, leaves, lichens and trees on their scavenger sheets.
They noticed moss growing like slippers on the roots of trees.
Or were shown how trees could grow from fallen trunks.
I had brought my two to explore Sagg Swamp before. It’s in a nature preserve near Sagoponack in the Hamptons, NY. As you follow the boardwalk through the swamp you would never guess that beautiful wide beaches are only a few minutes drive away.
British soldiers were here too, clinging to the boardwalk. A lichen named after the red coats worn by the British army during the American Revolutionary War.
And to teach them about their surroundings and biodiversity, the children in the group took samples and compared the dirt from the wood’s path and the mud from the swamp.
And as my two young adventurers marched excitedly in front of me, I knew that the next time we went for a walk in nature, they would be looking around us with a new perspective. I love taking them to natural history museums, but there’s something special about them becoming real naturalists.
The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center (SOFO), located between Britdgehampton and Sag Harbor in Long Island, NY, has outdoor and indoor events all year round for children.
Read here about…
- A night walk to find salamanders.
- A visit to their nature center with live animals and sea creatures.
- Or a walk in their reserve during the changing seasons.
Find out the latest events on SOFO’s website calendar. All the childrens’ events are included as part of the annual family membership ($60 annual fee) or you can pay for individual visits and trips. This was the first of their “backpack adventures” for young naturalists.