Yesterday, Dave Pro, Catherine Owens and I led 17 Teen Naturalists to Abbott’s Mill Nature Center for some canoeing, exploring, and checking out the old mill. The Teen Naturalists are a group that I have led since 1999 through the Delaware Nature Society. We go on adventures in the outdoors once a month and take a week-long summer trip every August. It is a fun group, and one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Both Ashland and Abbott’s Mill Nature Centers have a Teen Naturalist program.
First, we stopped in to Abbott’s Mill Nature Center since most of the kids had never been there. It is different from Ashland Nature Center, in that there are lots of things to see indoors and live animals to enjoy, including the touch tank above.
Jason Beale, Abbott’ Mill Nature Center Manager, led everyone on a canoeing adventure on Abbott’s Pond. With the wind whipping, we paddled to the other end of the pond. It was quite a sight to see an adult Bald Eagle soaring overhead. A kingfisher also thrilled a few of us as it angrily rattled its way past.
Soon enough, we were mired in a shallow-water swamp and had to cross two beaver dams. Sometimes it is the difficulty of a trip that makes it memorable. It’s almost never as much fun when things are easy! We eventually made it over or around both dams and paddled up Johnson’s Branch, a very small, winding stream in a beautiful Atlantic White-Cedar swamp.
Everyone really enjoyed the twisting, turning, and ducking! Paddling a small Delmarva swamp-stream was something we hadn’t done before and everyone loved it!
We had lunch at a landing in the swamp, and enjoyed being in a primitive, natural area. Paddling back was just as much fun! This is an adventure we should have done years ago.
Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader