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There's something special about water. Sure, it's one of our basic habitat requirements, but it's so magical, too! Water is so fun to play in and with, whether you're an adult or a child. In the strong heat of a Nebraska summer, there's nothing better than camping out at the splash park or hanging out in the backyard under the sprinkler. Even though winter's chill is still lingering here, especially in the mornings and evenings, the thawing ponds and mud puddles are a welcome sight to the many animals who depend on water for food and shelter, in addition to the fun of play.

In the wetlands of Fontenelle Forest, down in Child's Hollow or even down in the Missouri River floodplain, many creatures have come out of hibernation or back from migration to hang out in water all spring and summer long. These mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are eager for space to swim, paddle, and establish their summer homes once again. We find tadpoles swimming and toads singing in the trees; you might see a beaver carving a wake across the marsh as well. Mallard ducks and snapping turtles will call our waters home for the spring and summer. The return of creatures to water is a beautiful thing, and reminds me that I'm not the only animal who likes a good swim in the sunshine!

At Hands-on-Habitat on Friday, April 17, our theme is "Playing in the Pond," and we will learn about the animals of Fontenelle Forest that love and use water. Bring your kiddo and have fun exploring different educational stations indoors, and the forest outdoors! Learn all about animals that swim and eat and use water through hands-on experiences and interactive games that let you and your child explore together at your own pace. Feel free to drop in and play anytime between 10 am and noon! This program requires pre-registration, so just visit the Hands-on-Habitat registration page to sign up!

I can't wait for you and your kids to join in on the fun! See you on April 17th for Hands-on-Habitat!

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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