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Ottawa County Parks springs into April

Anonymous • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:27 AM

There are no fees for these programs and advance registration is not required. Call 616-786-4847 for more information.

The Spring Nature Walk Series is for adults and families. Walks last about 90 minutes, and are canceled if it is raining. Bring insect repellent and dress for the weather.

"Looking at Lichens" is the focus of a walk on Saturday, April 7. Lichens are found from barren landscapes to lush forests. Discover the uniqueness of lichens and their natural history during this hike to observe a variety of lichens. Meet at 2 p.m. at the Nature Education Center.

A beach walk will be held on Saturday, April 14, beginning at 2 p.m. at Kirk County Park. Lake Michigan is one of the largest freshwater lakes on Earth. Join this walk along a Lake Michigan beach and observe the plants and animals found there. Kirk County Park is located in Grand Haven Township on Lakeshore Avenue, about 2 miles south of M-45. Meet near the restroom building.

An "Earth Day Open House" including a special showing of “Green Fire” will be held Sunday, April 22, at the Nature Education Center. It will include ongoing Earth Day activities and guided walks from 1-3 p.m., followed by a presentation of "Green Fire" at 3:30 p.m. "Green Fire" is a documentary film about the life and times of Aldo Leopold.

Help celebrate the Grand River Greenway with a naturalist walk at the Crockery Creek Natural Area at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28. Hikers will observe a variety of plants and animals including migrating birds, frogs and raptors. Be prepared for some wet trails. Bring binoculars (loaners available) and meet in the parking lot. The Crockery Creek Natural Area is in Crockery Township. From the intersection of Leonard Street and Wren Drive, travel west on Wren Drive to the parking area at the end of the road.

The "Programs Just for Kids Series" is scheduled every Sunday in April beginning at 2 p.m. at the Nature Education Center. These one-hour indoor/outdoor programs are grade-specific and each program has a different topic. There are no fees and advance registration is not required.

For kids in kindergarten through second grade:

April 1 — Woodpeckers: Why does that tree have holes in it? Explore the lives of woodpeckers along the trails.

April 15 — Puppet Show: Beaver and Turtle have a conflict. Find out how they solve their problems during this 40-minute puppet show.

April 29 — Habitats Big and Small: Explore what different animals need in their habitats.

For kids in grades 3-6:

April 8 — Coyotes: Explore the day and life of a coyote. How do coyotes hunt their prey? How is a coyote track different from other animals?

April 22 (Earth Day) — Learn how to use a water quality testing kit to record important data about the water quality of the Pigeon River.

Parents with younger children can join "Explorations with Your Young Child" at 10 a.m. at the Nature Education Center on Wednesday, April 18. This one-hour indoor/outdoor program, created to help parents and children explore the natural world together, is for parents with children ages 2-4. Parents will actively participate with their young explorers. There are no fees and advance registration is not required.

The Nature Education Center is located at Hemlock Crossing County Park in Port Sheldon Township.

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