Nature Programs: Waterloo Natural History Association.
Feb. 24 (2-3 p.m.): “Skins, Scat, and Skulls.” Presentation and demonstration walk by naturalist Dave Szczygiel, with specimens from his collection of Michigan animal skulls and skins, on how various creatures use their specialized body parts and how to recognize animal signs in the wild.
Mar. 3 (2-3 p.m.): “Animal Adaptations.” Potter Park Zoo (Lansing) staffers display a variety of live animals and discuss how their bodies are adapted to their surroundings.
Mar. 9 & 10 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.): “Maple Sugar Festival.” Following a screening of the film Maple Sugar Farmer, WNHA naturalist Tom Jameson explains his do-it-yourself maple syrup making techniques and leads a short walk to show how to identify maple syrup trees and demonstrate tree-tapping techniques. Also, on Mar. 9 only (10 a.m.-2 p.m., American Legion Post 31, 1700 Ridge Rd.), a pancake breakfast with maple syrup ($6).
Mar. 17 (2-3 p.m.): “Bird Brains: Intelligence and Perception.” Animal behaviorist Craig Perdue displays a live Harris hawk, great horned owl, peregrine falcon, and European starling and discusses how they perceive the world. Weather permitting, followed by a walk to listen for and interpret the conversations of birds in the area. Suitable for all age 10 & up.
Apr. 6 (8 p.m.): “Night of the Amphibians.” WNHA naturalist Tom Hodgson discusses and displays live frogs, toads, and salamanders and leads a night walk to a nearby spring pond to look and listen for them. Bring a flashlight, dress for the weather, and be prepared to get your feet wet.
Apr. 14 (2-3 p.m.): “Celebrating Wildflowers.” Veteran WNHA naturalist Tom Hodgson shows images of beautiful spring blossoms and those that will follow as the year progresses and shares information about the best local spots for wildflower viewing.
Apr. 20 & 27 (10 a.m.-noon): “Sketching Nature.” Chelsea artist Artemis Eyster introduces basic observational skills and drawing techniques, followed by a trip outdoors to practice those skills.
Apr. 21 (2-3 p.m.): “Strange Creatures of the Spring Pond.” WNHA naturalist Tom Hodgson discusses little-known pond creatures like the delicate fairy shrimp and fierce diving beetles and shows how to “pour a pond” for yourself.
Apr. 28 (2-3 p.m.): “Animal Magic.” Popular animal rescuer and magician Mark Rosenthal presents an educational program blending magic with a variety of exotic animals from his sanctuary.
May 4 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.): “Faerie Festival.” Following a hike to discover nature through the eyes of the wee folk that inhabit our woods and fields, participants construct a faerie or gnome home from natural materials and undertake a “Lilliputian meander” and other activities revealing the magic of the natural world or enjoy a scavenger hunt or sensory wildflower walk.
May 11 (1:30-3 p.m.): “Incredible Edibles.” WNHA wild foods expert Tom Jameson leads a 90-minute hike to learn about edible wild plants available locally and then prepares some wild food dishes (with recipes) to sample.
May 19 (2-3 p.m.): “Creatures of the Night.” Howell Nature Center staff display several live nocturnal birds and discuss their habits and adaptations to the dark.
June 2 (2-3:30 p.m.): “Rockhound Basics.” Geologist Larry Bean leads rockhounds to a closed gravel pit to learn about rocks and minerals you can find there and what they reveal about ancient Michigan.
June 9 (2-3 p.m.): “Nature’s Tank: The Turtle.” WNHA naturalist Tom Hodgson shows some live turtles and discusses their biology and life cycles, and what to do when you encounter them in the wild.
Various times, meet in the Eddy Discovery Center lower parking lot (except as noted), Bush Rd. (west off Pierce Rd. from I-94 exit 157), Chelsea. $. $2 (families, $5); additional materials fee for “Sketching Nature” programs. Space limited; preregistration required. $10 annual vehicle entrance fee. 475–3170.