10 months ago


The Lake Forest Leader 012518

4 | January 25, 2018 |

4 | January 25, 2018 | The lake forest leader News Children embrace nature with outside event Lake Forest Open Lands promotes winter activities Katie Copenhaver Freelance Reporter The weekend thaw was perfect timing for the first Lake Forest Open Lands event of 2018, New Year in Nature, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Mellody Farm Nature Preserve. Around 100 adults and children participated in a scavenger hunt/ hike, a relay race, pond games and story time. The kids also enjoyed climbing a snow mound, which had been built by the land management team. The Lake Forest Open Lands staff planned for cross-country skiing and snowshoe races, but they were happy to trade that for the 45-degree, sunny day, which melted much of the snow, said President John Sentell. “It was wonderful to see families out here exploring during a season when people usually stay indoors,” said Anissa Chaudhry, senior environmental educator for Lake Forest Open Lands. Chaudhry, together with a group of volunteers that included Kristin Armstrong and Trisha Steele, ran the scavenger hunt/ hike for kids. Animal tracks, nests, feathers and garden gnome statuettes were among the items kids were searching for. “People don’t realize that you can actually see more in winter because everything is not leafed out,” she said. In fact, this was the first year Lake Forest Open Hadley Hirsh, 5, of Lake Bluff, is queen of the hill, climbing atop a mountain of the remaining snow. Lands hosted an outdoor nature event in January, Sentell explained. Everyone does spring, summer and fall outside events, so they wanted to show people that they can also get out and enjoy nature in winter, he noted. “We want to instill a love of nature in kids, so they will have an appreciation for it as adults,” Sentell said. He speaks from experience, since he has loved nature since his childhood and has returned to it as a career after working in Fortune 500 marketing and advertising. The Jensen Memorial Pond, named after the famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, was one of the activity stations of the event. It was frozen 6 inches deep, per the land managers, which made it safe to play on. Student volunteers from Lake Forest High School helped kids take shots with hockey sticks using wooden pucks and makeshift goals. There was also a fire pit where kids roasted marshmallows and warmed up while listening to a story read by Susie Hoffmann, Lake Forest Open Lands director of education. Mellody Farm Nature Preserve in Lake Forest is one of several conservation campuses owned by Lake Forest Open Lands. It is kept pristine in part because it is the only one where no dogs or bicycles are allowed. Groups from many of the surrounding public and private schools come to it for environmental field trips, and Lake Forest Open Lands holds its summer camps there. The land was historically owned by the Armour family. The gatehouse and wash house are now where Lake Forest Open Land’s offices are located, and the estate home is better known these days as Lake Forest Academy. Lake Forest Open Lands is hoping this event provided residents with an introduction to its organization and an inspiration to attend more of its activities. Lake Forest Open Lands is beginning a Nature and Nibbles series on select Friday evenings at Mellody Farm Nature Preserve. For more information, visit Harper Anderson, 10, of Lake Forest, flashes a smile as she races in firefighters’ gear across the grass on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Mellody Farm Nature Preserve for Lake Forest Open Lands New Year in Nature event. PHOTOS BY CLAIRE ESKER/22ND CENTURY MEDIA Campbell Gore (left), 10, of Lake Bluff, and Harper Anderson, 10, of Lake Forest, race to put on firefighter gear during a relay race. 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