In late October, MMRG kicked off a new program of family nature activities, ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’, with a Family Bonfire Storytime held at McKenzie’s Farm in Milton. Owners Jock, Annie and Brett McKenzie provided atmosphere with a roaring bonfire and tended a smaller fire for sitting around and toasting marshmallows. Ten participating kids and almost twice as many adults enjoyed a couple hours of songs, stories, games and s’more-making led by MMRG staff and volunteers.

Middleton Pastor Tom Gardner, a volunteer on MMRG’s Education Outreach Committee, brought a Halloween-themed game where kids matched pictures of real life creepy and strange organisms, such as Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms and a butterfly that feeds on blood, to descriptions he read. Kids and adults were entranced. Similarly captivating was a theatrical presentation by MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren of a Native American legend about a selfish monster that was turned into a toad.

The group also enjoyed music-making. Everyone joined in with drums, bells, tambourines and other instruments distributed by Lygren on a Native American song about the different moods of a river. The singing continued with old childhood favorites, ranging from ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’ to ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly’.

As the giant bonfire gradually burned down, kids and adults gathered around to chat quietly and stare into the embers while Lygren reminded the families of the next activities in the MOOSE-ies for Families program. 2018 upcoming events are: ‘Little Trackers’ snowshoe walk on February 24, ‘Ponding with Sally Cornwell’ on May 19, ‘Rail Trail Scavenger Hunt’ on June 23, and ‘Family Moonlight Walk’ on September 22. Kids were overheard asking their parents, “Can we do the next one, please?”

‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ stands for Members Only Outdoor and Social Events for Families. The program of activities is a new membership benefit instituted because MMRG believes that opportunities for families to spend time together in nature are crucial in order to foster future generations of conservationists. If your family are not currently members of MMRG, we would love to welcome you as our newest member household! Membership is $25 per household per year you’ll receive our newsletters and the benefit of six free ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ activities per year, including our annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival in August. Click here to become new members or renew your membership. If the membership fee is a financial burden, please inquire of Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns about available scholarships by calling (603) 473-2020.