Another view of the frozen lake.
It was just too pretty, and we had to take more pictures.
Me taking pictures!
Our princess found her first scat! She wanted to identify it. Woo hoo!
Close up of the scat...from the shape, and the trace of gray hair in its outer layer, we believe it came from a Coyote.
The family...trying to move along.
"Mommy, what is this?"
My dear, I believe these are cattails!
We can't stop taking picture of this beautiful frozen lake.
Loved this! It started our ecosystem conversation with our four year old!
It was cold, but very scenic. It inspired me to start taking black-n-white pictures.
Peanut, enjoying being outside in Nature.
Another majestic tree in the distance.
This device is used to track the animals the Refuge have been able to tag in the area.
Our kids, loving their hike. I love how they're each going at their own pace.
Once our hike was done, we ventured inside the Refuge's main office and took a look at their little museum. It was a wonder! A surprising find!
Here is peanut looking at stuffed Coyotes. We see live ones all the time near our house (our house is off of a natural reserve), but this is the closest I want him to get to one in real life.
I loved this part of the museum. It showed the different types of grass in the area, and how tall they could get.
The Refuge cannot escape its history. And I loved how they displayed WWII, and the impact the chemical warfare factories had on the land and the environment.
Our four year old little lady, is starting to get the picture of how an ecosystem works! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! What an education going to the Refuge was...
Some times taking the kids to the museum is difficult, because usually kids are not allowed to touch the things that are on display. And, as an adult, I understand the reasons why this is the case, my kids do not. So I was so incredibly happy to see this display!
...don't mind if I do!
Too bad I took such a crummy picture of this display. This was a phenomenal education piece for my daughter and our goal to teach her about the ecosystem and CRS.
This simple display, explained so much about the ecosystem of the Prairie. It was so informative, and kept her attention for a very long time. She had so many questions, that my husband and I had to take turns reading to her the signs on the display about the different animals in the Refuge, and how their co-existence was important for conservation and sustainability of the land.
Of course, being the four year old that she is, she was most struck with the idea that the Eagles preyed and successfully ate the Prairie dogs. But it was a good discussion, and an opportunity to be able to explain to her the concept of overpopulation and the impact on an ecosystem. We detailed for her that if the Eagles didn't eat the Prairie Dogs, there would be an overpopulation of them that would have a negative effect on the land's ecosystem.
It was an awesome conversation to have with her.
Display table of nests, and eggs from the different birds in the area.
I loved these. They were small with reddish-brown dots!
Close-up. I believe they were from the Western Meadowlark bird.
I wasn't going to write about this, but I found that it was necessary to blog about. When we got to the Refuge, we immediately smelled a foul stench in the air. At first, we thought that perhaps we were smelling the Bison scat (yes, this Refuge has Bison, roaming on parts of their land), but no...it turned out that there was a nearby landfill. At times, we could smell the rotting heap of garbage during our hike. I guess it all depended on which way the wind was blowing. Of course, this did not ruin our trip to the Refuge, but it was a little disappointing. Of course, it did lead us to talk about the importance of recycling with our little ones. So I guess it was a bitter-sweet bonus of our outdoor adventure at the Refuge.
Another picture angle of the landfill.
A close-up of the landfill.
Another thing we noticed on our way out of the Refuge: Colonies of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs!
A little closer...
It wasn't close enough for the princess...we had to get out of the car!
She got to see them up close! This is her doing her happy dance!
I want to see more!
Here you go!
She was so close, she actually heard their barks! What a great way to end our trip to the The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge!