OPPORTUNITIES: Wetland Ecology Tour to wriggle and peep with family-friendly science

Dr. J.D. Willson (left), assistant professor of biology at the University of Arkansas, speaks to master naturalists and students during a 2016 BioBlitz at Woolsey Wet Prairie Sanctuary in Fayetteville. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/ANDY SHUPE)

The 2019 Wetland Ecology Tour from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday is a chance to learn a little natural science from nature itself, in Woolsey Wet Prairie Sanctuary in Fayetteville.

Families are welcome, and the planners are taking pains to help kids enjoy learning about the plants, birds and herps (aka snakes and frogs) that live in the sanctuary.

"We have all kinds of fun stuff," says Jodie Burns, owner of Cattails Environmental, who volunteers as state education and outreach coordinator for the Society of Wetland Scientists' South Central Chapter. "Some food, that's always fun — doughnuts, milk for the kids and coffee for the parents — and door prizes."

The day begins with registration and food, followed by lectures inside the sanctuary's building and easy nature hikes outside, in the sanctuary. Prize drawings after the hikes will relate to information offered that morning. Burns says the lectures will be "real short" — a little bit educational — but "real family-friendly."

Visitors will take their pick of three walks: J.D. Willson's herpetology hike; Karen Willard's botany hike; or Joan Reynolds' birding hike.

Burns says Willson, a University of Arkansas professor, is surveying frogs and snakes in the sanctuary and "guarantees" there will be herps to see.

The sanctuary is a 44-acre wetland mitigation site adjacent to Fayetteville's West Side Wastewater treatment plant at 15 S. Broyles Ave.

Admission will be collected at the gate: $15 for adults and $10 for students and society members, free for children age 12 or younger.

A head count will help planners provide enough doughnuts, so they ask anyone who plans to attend to indicate that using their event page on Facebook.

Those who don't "do" Facebook can email Burns at jodieburns@cattailsenvironmental.com.

Style on 04/22/2019