Updated for 2016
The North Alabama Land Trust’s “Tuesdays On the Trail” program is a wonderful way for even the busiest of families to spend some time together outdoors. Don’t tell the kids… you’ll learn a lot about local environmental education too!
Tuesdays on the Trail programs take place every Tuesday in June and July at various North Alabama Land Trust preserved areas and properties.
I took my family and set out to the first program of their summer series last week – lucky for you there are still several weeks of activities left, but you must hurry! Space is limited and availability fills up fast.
What to Expect
Each program has a different focus and features local flora, fauna, and conservation topics. This first session was fishing at Harvest Pointe Square, one of the newer NALT Preserves. As a native, it was great to discover a new place that encourages nature exploration and is available for the public to enjoy.
We joined the rest of the group under a pavilion and listened to a brief talk about the kinds of fish that lived in the ponds and a little history about Harvest Square Preserve and the animals that lived around it. The majority of kids were ages 5-10 and everyone was excited to be there!
A demonstration on how to tie a hook, line, and sinker to our cane pole came next. All the materials were provided by the Land Trust and there were plenty of volunteers on hand to help families. After that, we were ready to fish from the bank!
Again, there were several helpers stationed around the pond to help bait hooks and take fish off the lines after they were caught. Many fish were caught and you could hear several squeals of delight around the pond. The fish were too small to keep so back into the water they went. We fished for about an hour and headed home at dusk.
My boys really enjoyed TotT and we can’t wait to go back! The Land Trust staff are very knowledgeable, and great about igniting enthusiasm for nature in kids.
An Award-Winning Program
“Tuesdays On the Trail” was honored by the Environmental Education Association of Alabama (EEAA) as Alabama’s Best Community Environmental Education Project. That’s pretty high praise, especially since those who win this accolade are only eligible to win once and have bragging rights for the duration of the program!
“Education and outreach is part of the Land Trust’s core mission,” affirms Marketing Director Cathie Mayne.
“There is simply nothing better than seeing kids faces light up when they are connecting with nature – except for watching the parents faces as they see their children discovering a whole new world. We truly believe that fostering appreciation of nature and the need to preserve the places we love is vital to raising the next generation of land preservation advocates.”
2016 Tuesdays On the Trail Schedule
Reservations are required in advance, and all but one program is FREE! Call 256.534.5263 to RSVP – long pants, bug/tick spray, and water recommended. Call soon – some sessions are already full!
June 7, 6:00 PM – Fishin’ at Harvest Square Preserve
The classic kickoff to TOtT – use our cane poles (or bring your own) and try your hand at a simple way to catch fish! Learn about Alabama’s native fish at our Harvest Square Preserve ponds. You’re welcome to bring a picnic or snacks.
June 14, 10:00 AM – Bugs Tell Cool Stories: Water Quality
Come splash with us in Fagan Creek. Wildflower Trail is the best way to reach the creek and we’ll look for critters and insects that will “tell” us about clean freshwater streams. 15 children (ages 6+) with accompanying adult.
June 21, begins at 8:00 PM – Let’s Go On An Insect Safari!
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve has it’s own microclimate and we’ll see some of the neat flying
inhabitants that only come out at night. We’ll have blacklights, but you’ll need flashlights on the trail.
June 28, 11:00 am – Wings to Soar: Birds of Prey
Wings to Soar will thrill the bejeebers out of the audience by combining music, video, and live Birds of Prey which will fly right over the audience giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “Fly By”. This incredible experience will definitely inspire long after it’s over and plant a seed that will grow into a whole new connection to the natural world.
July 12, 9 to 11 AM – Ahhh…Art in the Morning
Have you seen Harvest Square in the morning? This lovely Nature Preserve will
inspire us with beauty, birds, and your enthusiasm. We’ll complete a number of multi-media art projects using items from nature – naturally! Bring a sack lunch if you’d like to stay a bit longer.
July 19, 7:15 PM – See 1/4 Million Endangered Gray Bats!
Nick Sharp, Nongame Biologist with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Nongame Wildlife Program, will tell us all about the 250,000+ Gray Bats of North Alabama’s protected Sauta Cave. This is the largest nursery colony of gray bats east of the Mississippi River and all the bats emerge about 30 min. before true dark. Sauta Cave Drive (closed to cars) is located just past mile marker 131 on Hwy. 72 driving east toward Scottsboro. Park on Hwy. 72 and walk app. 200 yards to observation platform. Please bring a poncho with hood and a flashlight.
July 26, 10:00 AM – Float on Flint Creek with Alabama EcoAdventures
(Cost: $10.00 per person – payable at the event)
Explore Flint Creek via canoe or kayak with Jay Grantland of Alabama EcoAdventures and our friends at Waterworks Center for Environmental Education in Hartselle. Ages 10 and up – no younger tagalongs. Capacity: 20 children with accompanying adult. Please wear clothing & shoes that can get wet and bring sunscreen, drinking water, towel, and camera.
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