The Carden Nature Festival is one of those annual events that every nature-lover should try to attend at least once in their lifetime. Hyperbole ? Perhaps I'm still buzzing after attending the 2011 version last weekend. However, the festival revolves around a habitat that many people do not get a chance to experience and features numerous activities that range from birding to observing aquatic wildlife to mosses and lichens to hunting for fossils. I could go on but suffice to say, if you like nature, there will be something that will appeal to your taste. Even better for parents, kids are welcome !
2011 is the fifth annual Carden Nature Festival. Every year the festival seems to grow, offering more activities to visitors. All of the activities allow people to get up close and personal with one of the most intriguing environments in Ontario ( although I'll gladly stretch that to all of North America ). Alvars are globally rare habitats and one cannot find a better example than the Carden Plain. Birders are drawn here in droves but the festival reaches out to anyone who enjoys nature and being outside. They find some amazing activity leaders too. And for parents, I noticed more activities aimed at kids, a bonus for parents who want to make the trek.
Bringing a young child to a nature festival is always a tough proposition. The Carden Nature Festival presents it's own challenge. This event is not the Spring Birding Festival at Tommy Thompson Park where Wendy's and Tim Horton's Donuts are a few minutes up the street. Most of the action emanates from the town of Carden Rec Centre, about an hour and a half north of Toronto.
So planning has to be undertaken because there is no place to buy sunscreen or insect repellent if said items are forgotten. The snacks and drinks need to be meticulously sorted out and packed. Rain gear must be brought and stowed in the car. However, if one remembers all the important things, the Carden Nature Festival is amazing. This is the second year that I have brought THE DAUGHTER and both times have been the ultimate daddy-daughter days.
The first time I brought my daughter, she was only 4. I was probably pushing things by having her participate in a 630 am Birding by Ear Activity. However, the real highlight was a mid-day fossil hunting trip in a nearby quarry. THE DAUGHTER is a fan of all things pre-historic and we came away with nice specimens of trilobites, sea stars and shells that were buried about 400 million years ago.
This year we returned on Saturday while I also managed to get a solo day in Carden. I will be posting my/our highlights of the festival over the next few days. Let's just say it involves alvars, a new life bird and a baby muskie.
Things I am Thinking About Right Now...
- 1. Finally Updated; A busy ( and not-so-birdy fall ) fall
- 2. A smew in Ontario ??? And I got to see it !
- 3. Thinking about summer vacation...
- 4. And Sping trips too !
- 5. Quite a few Winter rarities around. May try to add a few more to the list
- 6. Still no snow on the ground...
- 7. Project FeederWatch is going strong. Two eports submitted...
- 8. I think I have convinced my wife to visit Cape May next summer !
- 9. The Elephant Pepper Development Trust ( Check out their site ! )
- 10. Tying to decide how to spend my remaining gift certificates !