The Kansas Wetlands Education Center offers activities for spring break

University Communication FHSU

The Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Fort Hays State University will host a variety of free daily activities during spring break later this month, giving people the opportunity to get out and explore the diversity of the wetlands.

FHSU certified assistants will lead the activities from noon to 4:30 p.m. each day. The event is informal, back-and-forth, and no registration is required. After enjoying the hands-on activities, visitors can experience the center’s interactive exhibit hall, a classroom with live animals, a 16-minute Cheyenne Bottoms video, and walk the nature trail. They can take a map and take a self-guided tour of the swamp. Those unable to attend in person can watch a Facebook Live program at 10 a.m. each day. Follow @wetlandscenter for a story and demonstration of the afternoon’s activity.

Here is a summary of each day’s activities.

Monday, March 14 – Plants play a crucial role in the Cheyenne Bottoms habitat. Come explore all plants as you discover each of the six parts of a plant, dissect a flower, marvel at how a stem carries food and liquids, and craft and take a unique garden monster for you to see grow before your eyes.

Tuesday, March 15 – Come dive into one of the ways scientists think Cheyenne Bottoms formed. Build a small sinkhole and see how a wetland acts as a natural water filter for many contaminants and pollutants.

Wednesday, March 16 – Cheyenne Bottoms has always been a place full of incredible diversity, especially with our familiar friends. Birds of different shapes, sizes and sounds can be found everywhere. But have you ever wondered why the many different birds have different types of beaks? Come and see how much each bird relies on its beak by discovering how it works with its natural tools. Leave with a gift for your feathered companions at home: personalized, easy-to-make feeders that you can hang in your garden.

Thursday, March 17 – Have you ever wondered what animals think? The majority of their decisions are based on behaviors adapted to their different lifestyles. Come experience how reptiles think and view the world as we make reptile beaded keychains you can take home.

Friday, March 18 – Swipe to KWEC to learn about the snakes that call Kansas home. Create and decorate your own paper snake while learning how snakes grow and take part in a fun interactive activity to understand how snakes find food and navigate the world around them! See real snake skins, a snake skeleton, and even a live snake as you learn more about these wondrous swaying reptiles.

The spring break fun doesn’t stop there. Start your break at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 11 with our monthly WILD club activity for school-aged children. District KDWP Wildlife Biologist James Svaty will be on hand to talk about furbearers and fur harvesting. He will bring different types of traps and learn how to set them. It will also have a collection of pelts and skulls, and we will hike in pursuit of tracks and other signs of wildlife.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, join KWEC Director Curtis Wolf for a Birding 101 course – open to people of all ages. On Saturday, March 19, meet at the center at 1 p.m. for a trailer tour of Cheyenne Bottoms. Hop in our van or follow your vehicle to check what birds are present in the wetlands. On both Sundays of Spring Break (March 13 and 20), reptile books will be available in the classroom, and we encourage children to come “read to a reptile” anytime from 1-5 p.m.

KWEC is located in Cheyenne Bottoms, 10 miles northeast of Great Bend on Highway K-156. For more information, call 877-243-9268 or visit wetscenter.fhsu.edu.

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