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Well folks, it's April! Can you believe it? This past month was a busy one for us here at Fontenelle Forest, but the busyness definitely fell into the category of "good busy" – the kind that is satisfying, rather than draining.

One fantastic aspect of our past month was meeting so many of you at our first Hands-on-Habitat program! We explored life cycles, got glue all over our hands, worked on puzzles, created beautiful ground murals with chalk – and even explored a bit outside! It was a gorgeous day, and having you all come hang out made it even more wonderful.

Our next Hands-on-Habitat will take place on April 18, and it's not too late to register online. Just like last month, this will be a fun, relaxed event for you and your child. We'll have educational projects for you to explore, as well as engaging activities that are designed to help strengthen motor skills and development.

Our early childhood programs at Fontenelle Forest are all set up in a come-and-go style, because we realize that you and your child have your own unique schedule (and attention span), so just drop in and play anytime between 10 am and 12 pm! 

Your ticket to Hands-On-Habitat also includes access to all of Fontenelle Forest's outdoor features, including Acorn Acres, a one-acre natural playscape. Feel free to check out Acorn Acres with your child for a change of pace and outdoor fun!

We love talking about pond life here at the Forest, so we'll be focusing on our pond friends for this month's Hands-on-Habitat. We'll get outside and splash around, so dress to get dirty. We'll also have opportunities to play indoors and explore different pond animals and their adaptations for survival in and near water. If you have a child who loves water, or loves animals who love water, this month's event is for you! And speaking of water – we all know how rainy April can be, but don't let a rainy day stop you from coming out! We can still have lots of fun, even outdoors.

If you are looking for extra ways to explore nature this month, there are ways you and your child can prepare for this event. Ponds and small streams are a very dynamic scene during the spring and summer – there's always something new to see at this time of year. If you have a small pond or stream near where you live, even if it looks a bit dirty or polluted, check it out with your child and note what you find. As the weather gets warmer, they will start teeming with life, especially on a sunny day! But you have to look closely, as pond life tends to be on the tiny side. You may feel rather silly, staring closely at a seemingly empty pond, but the more opportunities for exploration you give yourself and your child, the more you'll find!

And of course, if your neighborhood is short on bodies of water, your local library is a fantastic alternative. Books are often the next best things!

We can't wait to see you on April 18! Happy Ponding!

Lindsay Cooley

from Fontenelle Forest

Lindsay is an environmental educator at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue. She was born and raised in Omaha, and is happy to be back after spending the past four years interning and working at various nature centers around the country. Lindsay has a background in environmental science, and is passionate about cultivating a love of the natural world in children and adults alike. When she's not cutting out craft materials or taking kids on hikes, Lindsay loves birdi ...

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