All posts by John

Recreation, Health, Heritage. Fuses Connections to a Healthy Lifestyle via Outdoor Recreation. Professional Guides, Naturalists and Historians; Public Speakers; Life-Long Conservationists. Registered Nurse.

Winter ecology for kids: Why Bumblebees don’t ski

One might skate into winter ecology for kids of all ages in a few different ways. Maybe try out: “Why is that Bumblees don’t ski?” Begin exploring how wild critters adapt in the cold. People just dress warmer. As for the Bumblebees….well, that ‘s quite a bit different.

Engage the young mind as you help dress your child for the cold, discussing how insects, to include bees, can’t simply add layers of clothing. So, what do they do?

Encourage the child to wonder; What does a Bumblebee do in the winter?

For a quick insight into the science, take a look at thermo-regulation of the Arctic Bumblebee found at the following link:

The goal here is simply to show that Learning is Fun, Naturally!

Kids activity – winter ecology

“Education is fun, Naturally” Kids Activity for Observing Winter Ecology.

Want to See an ice crystal ? Want to take a picture of one? Even though its going to be 50 today, low tide around 430PM, don’t mean one don’t observe, if feasible ice. Photos appreciate ice crystals shapes and how they bond to each other in a clumping manner and fashion.

Kids Activity to Capture and Observe Ice Crystals.

One can obtain photos of ice crystals by leaving a piece of clean glass outside, overnight. background is a black cloth. Snag an eye loupe or a magnifying glass. You can really examine, under various magnifications, the structure of separate crystals.

Discussions on what the ice/frost does, how it gets there, what is frost/ice/snow, when does ice/frost form, critters in the winter and other areas of winter ecology can follow.

LaChapelle’s “Field Guide to Snow Crystals” is an wonderful field guide that helps one id type of crystals. These in the photo are “stellar crystals” (per international snow classification) . Note: radiating assemblage of fern like dendrites.

LaChapelle’s coaches folks in how to observe ice crystals under a microscope. Hint-Shine light onto crystals from the side. Provides best magnified look at ice (is a vice). Another way to to use the flash setting of ones camera. If you really want to see the “wild” side of ice, view the ice crystals under a black-light. The refractory views and colors are tip of that hat tops….

Don’t hesitate to zap a note if you have any questions.

Online Guides:

Timbuctoo Marsh

Kevin over at Timbuctoo Kayak and Canoe and I did a walk around the Timbuctoo Marsh today. Lots of birds, ducks and hawks about. High tide has marsh in flood for sure. Lovely winter day before the forecast of a winter storm. Note ice starting to latch unto creek bank. Viewshed across the old N Branch navigation turning basin and into Bur Co Long Bridge County Park. Hainesport/Westampton

Winter Ecology Roundtable

Ever wonder what occurs to nature during the cold, winter weather? What is life like for all those little critters? How does the Rancocas Creek watershed sustain its winter ecosystems? Are you curious as to how a frog, turtle, heron or hawk manage to survive the winter? Come on down to the Rancocas Pathways-sponsored ‘Winter Ecology’ seminar and join us in a rousing cheer for the first day of spring!


This open forum (free to the public) will cover ice harvests, ecology and conservation, and quite a bit more. The goal of the roundtable is to serve as a catalyst for further interest in, and discovery along, the Rancocas. While our roundtable will be held indoors, attendees may want to sneak away for some easy and pleasant kayaking on the Mt. Holly Village Oxbow. Kayak rentals will be available and all proceeds support Rancocas Pathway’s Education is Fun, Naturally youth programs.

The roundtable will be held rain or shine while fully acknowledging the Garden State’s mid-March weather is often what we might charitably call a genuine adventure. We look forward to seeing you there. In the interim, feel free to drop us a line, if you have any questions or care to volunteer a little time on this activity. Your support really does make a big difference!

Our March roundtable is the first of a series of seasonal public forums and educational events tied the health, preservation and improvement of the Rancocas Creek and Watershed and the quality of life for all–to include our wildlife friends–who call it home.

Zap back any questions to the Rancocas Pathway’s program director at: