Learn about winged wonders at Red Oaks Nature Center

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 11, 2018

MADISON HEIGHTS — Superheroes like Batman, Robin and Hawkeye all draw inspiration from the amazing abilities of the creatures after which they’re named. 

Now young kids are invited to visit the Red Oaks Nature Center to learn more about these heroes and their real-life counterparts. Kids can even come dressed as their favorite heroes, too.

“Superheroes of the Sky” will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St. in Madison Heights. Admission costs $4 per person. 

The event will discuss bats, birds, insects and other creatures capable of flight, with parallels drawn to modern superheroes. The program is targeting kids between the ages of 8 and 14, but all are welcome to attend. 

Benjamin Prowse, seasonal program specialist at Oakland County Parks and Recreation, and Sarah Hudson, naturalist at the Red Oaks Nature Center, will lead the event. 

“We previously held a ‘Superheroes of the Woods’ program, which was very well-received,” said Prowse. “Robin Hood himself made an appearance!” 

The goal of the event is to create a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

“We will explore the unique adaptations of bats, birds and insects. Imagine if you could smell your next meal from a mile away, like the turkey vulture can. Similarly, hawks and eagles can see with precision for upwards of 2 miles! However, when the sun sets, bats utilize their own ‘vision’ to guide their flights,” Prowse said. “We’ll also explore the ‘super generation’ of monarch butterflies.” 

The event will also include a migration obstacle course the kids can run through, and a super snack and craft.

“We will head outdoors for the kids to test their skills while they jump, run and flap through our obstacle course,” said Lynn Conover, recreation program supervisor for nature education at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. “At this time, we have yet to determine exactly what craft we will be making. But Sarah and Benjamin have some wonderful ideas that are sure to be a hit with any superheroes-in-training that attend the event.”

The nature center has other events coming up, too. The Hometown Harvest will take place Sunday, Oct. 7, from noon to 3:30 p.m. Held in partnership with the city of Madison Heights, the fall celebration will feature live music, cider and doughnuts, farm animals, and festive crafts. Kids can try the climbing tower or jump in the bounce house. There will also be creepy critters to see, and fall colors will be starting to appear at Suarez Friendship Woods. The event is free and open to people of all ages.

On Saturday, Oct. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., visitors to the nature center can press apples into cider, enjoy fall snacks and craft leaf-print T-shirts. They will also hike the trails with a naturalist, seeing the fall colors and learning how animals prepare for winter. Admission costs $5 per person, and attendees are asked to bring a light-colored T-shirt for printing. 

And on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 5 to 8 p.m., kids can come to Suarez Friendship Woods for trick-or-treating on the wooded “Trick or Trees” trail, which will be lined with vendors and costumed characters passing out candy and other goodies. Everyone is invited to come dressed in their favorite family-friendly costume, and to bring bags for the kids to collect treats. There will also be cider and doughnuts, face painting, and nocturnal nature stations. Attendees are asked to pre-register by Oct. 25 to guarantee cider and doughnuts. The cost is $5 per child by Oct. 25 or $7 per child Oct. 26-27. The cost is $1 for adults. 

“Our goal is to share our knowledge and passion of the natural world with the citizens of Oakland County,” Prowse said of the Sept. 22 superhero event. “By connecting with pop culture, we can foster that understanding and appreciation of nature.”

For more information, call the Red Oaks Nature Center at (248) 585-0100.