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Have you ever stopped to think about the miracle that is flight?

I know, I know, it works because of physics and there are lots of fancy words and terms and equations that go into describing the concept of flight. But have you seriously ever paused to marvel at the fact that a solid object, such as an airplane weighing almost a million pounds, can get off the ground and fly through the air? I find it mind-blowing! 

Now, take the jet engines away, but keep the wings, and figure out how to travel from Greenland to Antarctica and back in one year. If you're, say, an arctic tern, the only way to get there is by flapping those wings, baby. According to this article by Mason Inman for National Geographic News, these 4-oz. birds fly 44,000 miles every single year in order to return back to their appropriate breeding and wintering grounds. And since these birds live about 30 years, they end up flying the distance of three trips to the moon – and back – over the course of their lifetimes .

Birds and airplanes aren't the only long-distance flyers. Insects make amazing journeys every year as well! The United States Forest Service reports that some monarch butterflies can fly an average of 50-100 miles every day, and some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their winter homes. Thinking about a tiny butterfly flying 50 miles in one day really puts my tenth-grade 8-minute-mile run to shame, know what I mean?

If the miracle of flight sparks your interest, and if your kiddos are already obsessed with birds or butterflies or airplanes in the sky, Fontenelle Forest's next Hands-on-Habitat on May 15, 2015 will be perfect for you! Our theme is "Wonderful Wings," and we’ll be learning all about creatures that use wings, whether for flight or for a whole different reason entirely. Visit the Hands-on-Habitat registration page to sign-up!

Come ready to interact with your child and be sure to bring an extra adult with you if you've got more than two kiddos with you. In a setting like Hands-on-Habitat, your attention to your child is crucial to their learning experience. We'll have activities and games inside plus bubbles and chalk outside, with room to simply play and enjoy yourselves. If it's a nice day outside, start your day at Fontenelle with some time in our one-acre outdoor playscape and then join us downstairs for Hands-on-Habitat. I can't wait for you and your child to discover the incredible world of winged creatures. See you on May 15!

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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