New art program, old favorites to enliven Rice Creek this fall

Rice Creek Field Station will unveil an added attraction this fall, a chance for families with children age 8 and over, teens and adults to connect with nature through art.

Titled “Sustainable Art: Using Nature’s Palette,” the four programs will take place every other Saturday starting Sept. 17, while Rice Creek’s long-running nature walks, Rice Creek Rambles, will fill the Saturdays between and beyond, said Assistant Director Diann Jackson, who administers field station programs.

The free hands-on art workshops will begin at 11 a.m.  Since program size is limited, prospective participants—the sessions cannot accommodate groups—need to preregister at least 10 days ahead at 216-6877. An adult must accompany children under 12.

* Sept. 17, “Nature Masks”: Those attending will use found natural objects from home and the field station’s trails—cones, feathers, grasses, pebbles and so on—along with clay, to create a personalized mask that reflects their “wild” side. Preregister by Sept. 7.

* Oct. 1, “Nature’s Paint Box”: Participants will learn how specific colors in berries, leaves and other natural objects can be used in trailside artwork, as fall scenery paints Rice Creek itself. Preregister by Sept. 21.

* Oct. 15, “Nature Prints and Rubbings”: Using found natural objects and castings from wildlife, participants will take a short walk to gather textural items, then use nature prints and rubbings to create memorable compositions. Preregister by Oct. 5.

* Oct. 29, “Critters and Creatures”: After a short walk to gather objects that remind them of animals, participants will make some critters and creatures and learn about the role colors and shapes play in the survival of wildlife. Preregister by Oct. 19.

Rice Creek Rambles

Themed, naturalist-led Rice Creek Rambles will start for the fall on Saturday, Sept. 24. Those planning to attend the free walks should call 216-6877 the morning of each hike to check on trail conditions. Since program size is limited, Rice Creek cannot accommodate groups. An adult must accompany children.

* Sept. 24, “Migration”: The feature during this hike will be birds and butterflies on the move.

* Oct. 8, “Who Is Getting Ready for Snow?”: Observe preparations for winter among Rice Creek’s inhabitants.

* Oct. 22, “Fall Walk in the Woods”: The changing colors, rustle of leaves beneath feet and the smell of fall in the air are among the senses visitors may discover.

* Nov. 5, “Life Signs”: What are the animals of Rice Creek doing as winter sets in? Participants will explore adaptations for winter conditions.

* Nov. 19, “Tracks and Traces”: Is that a bent twig or was it chewed? Hikers will search for tracks, traces and more signs of animal activity.

* Dec. 10, “Is Everyone Fast Asleep?”: A walk through wintry fields and woods will help determine who is still up and about and who has gone into hibernation.

Other programs

Bird banding will continue at Rice Creek this fall. Visitors can observe birds in naturalists’ hands during the capture, banding and release of resident and migrating songbirds. For a schedule, call 216-6878.

On most Fridays and Saturdays beginning in November, visitors can spend a few minutes as citizen scientists, counting birds at Rice Creek’s feeders. The program for all ages and families will also make available information about Project FeederWatch for home bird feeders.

Also, visitors to Rice Creek can see the new “Forests” exhibit in the field station’s viewing gallery, commemorating the United Nations declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests.

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(Posted: Aug 26, 2011)