We had our second spring class out at the Waterloo Aquatic Educational Center today, and though Ani and I are slogging through day 2 of a deeply snottirific cold, we did not want to miss it, 'cause it was about amphibians!! We've been listening to peepers for a month now, and remember the wee little salamanders we found in the fall, so we (well, at least I) have been looking forward to this. WAEC is partnered with the Raccoon Creek Watershed, and is housed at an old ODNR lab about a 15 minutes drive SE of here. It is beautiful, and I co-led a class there last week on wildflowers, so I knew there might be even more open and ready for ogling this week. I was right! The trout lilies were beautiful (though my pictures might not show it), with their gracefully nodding heads and mottled leaves. Dutchman's Breeches were out in droves, but I think I'll have to save my photos of those for the 100 Species Challenge which I keep meaning to start in a more formal way here on my blog!
The kids were outfitted with boots for wading, nets and collecting boxes. Eliza looks less than thrilled in this picture - I think it was because her collection box was full of worms and larvae and not newts and frogs.
Ani hung in there, and perked up when I dug the old Sutemi pack out of the back of the car and gave her a ride. Oh man...it got me all nostalgic! I was amazed that it was comfortable for either of us, but it certainly extended our hiking stamina.
Collecting newts, water striders, dragonfly larvae (have you ever looked at those JAWS??? Holy cow.) and one very large spider at the big pond.
Now we're at home, and the girls immediately got busy setting up a "hiding place" on our front stoop (they really miss the large front porch we had in Richmond) and are now playing pixies, searching desperately for fairies, and eating muffins, with our next-door neighbor Sid. And I am going to make myself another cup of tea, blow my nose, and maybe even help myself to another ibuprofen. Or a muffin. Probably both.