Sunday, August 19, 2012

Middlebury Riverfest

We had a blast at the Middlebury Riverfest at Riverbend Park! We went geocaching here before but haven't spent as much time in the area. I liked the park--there is a nice blend of recreation and hiking trails. There is also a river running through it which is a nice feature.

I've loved watching Daragh Deegan's presentations on fish. I've seen him with his tanks of fish at the YMCA kids day, cub scout day camp, etc. This was the first time that I knew about where we could actually see him using his fish shocker to collect specimens. He is the Aquatic Biologist of Elkhart County and uses fish samplings to assess the water quality in the area. I also was able to participate in his demonstrations as part of Indiana Master Naturalists. Good info and fascinating to learn about these fish. My son remembered the lampreys! I think he also put up a small exhibit at Woodlawn Nature Center. While there were other great activities, seeing this advertised was the hook that sealed the deal as we made plans for the weekend.

The kids loved the children's activities area. It was very hands on and the candy for prizes didn't hurt their interest and motivation level. I enjoyed going to the different booths to learn about natural resources in the area and connecting with others who enjoy the outdoors. We really have great resources in the area! 

Notice the little guy in the sling--that's our newborn! He was 9 days old and went on his first longer hike with an Indiana Master Naturalist in the woods. It wasn't his first time out. I started going stir crazy the first week home and ran over to Bonneyville Mill for a nature fix. The dahlia garden was beautiful that day. 
 The kids made boats out of natural materials and then later sailed them on the river. They didn't go too far. A testing pool might have helped beforehand, but it was still exciting to see the kids involved and the boats setting out on their journey!

It's kind of hard to see in this picture, but there is a clump of branches high up in the tree. The festival arranged buses to take us to a nearby Great Blue Heron Rookery, led by a local scientist who did his master's thesis on Great Blue Heron rookeries in Indiana. I didn't know this was available during the festival. I've since listened to him again--fascinating! I saw several Indiana Master Naturalists helping out throughout the day and countless others--thanks for the great experience!

Can't wait until next year! There was a little of something for everyone! Like it on Facebook!