Get hands-on with nature

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published September 17, 2013

 Alex Weisenstein, 5, of Oakland Township, tries archery with the help of instructor 
Devon Bolingbrook at Goodison Good Tyme Sept. 5.

Alex Weisenstein, 5, of Oakland Township, tries archery with the help of instructor Devon Bolingbrook at Goodison Good Tyme Sept. 5.

Photo by Donna Agusti

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — This fall, residents are invited to learn a new skill, create a craft, or conquer a fear of spiders at township parks.

Township officials want residents to experience nature in innovative ways.

“We are trying to be new and inventive,” Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Manager Becky McLogan said. “There are elements of programming that typically draw people in. They have to do with your senses.”

Teenagers are invited to a Full Moon Madness campfire 8:30-10 p.m. Sept. 20 at Bear Creek Nature Park, on Snell Road. A telescope will be available for moon viewing, along with spray paint for space-themed posters. A Dinosaur Hill naturalist will lead the program.

“We are excited to reach out to that age level, and it is a great chance for teens to get outside,” said Dinosaur Hill Director Sue Neal. “It links nature with science, geology, pop culture and an art project.” 

The event is free to township residents and is $3 for non-residents.

The township’s new Lost Lake Park Nature Center will open formally at 4 p.m. Oct. 3, and the opening includes a guided kayak wetland tour and a hiking tour of the park’s oak-pine barrens. The free event includes a T-shirt stencil session.

In addition to the new nature center, Lost Lake Park features a renovated sled hill that is ready for winter activities. The old sled hill funneled sledders into one spot at the bottom of the hill.

“We flattened that out,” McLogan said. “We graded it and made it safer, but we haven’t taken the fun out of it.”

Kayaking for beginners will be held 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 5 at Lost Lake Park. The class focuses on safety and stroke techniques, and is $20 for residents or $35 for non-residents, including kayak rental.

Cranberry Lake Farm, on Predmore Road, hosts a fall corn harvest event 1-2:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Young and old are invited to try their hand at grinding corn, fashioning a corn craft and popping popcorn around an open fire.

The Cranberry Lake Historic District is located within Cranberry Lake Park. The park features the renovated historic Axford Coffin farmhouse and several restored farm buildings.

“The setting is perfect,” McLogan said. “Several Historic Society volunteers have built an old-fashioned corncrib out there, and they will tie that into the aspects of the program.”

The event is $3 for residents and $5 for nonresidents.

Elementary school students will explore the world of spiders during an after-school program 4:30-6 p.m. Oct. 22 at Lost Lake Nature Park. Students will search for spiders, learn about the spiders of the area and make a giant spider Halloween decoration.

“Elementary kids are always interested in the odd or unusual,” Neal said.

The program aims to give children an understanding and appreciation for spiders, “as opposed to fear, in a fun way,” Neal said.

In November, a preschool program will teach youngsters about the winter activities of insects and animals, and includes a walk, a craft and a story.

McLogan said there are openings in all township fall nature programs, but the programs fill up quickly. For more information or to register, call (248) 651-7810 or visit