Kidcentric ‘Wild Things’ Walk Saturday

Nature Walk: Friends of the Seminary Hill Host Hands-On Wildlife Workshop


By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle

Search the forest floor at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, June 4, with Blake Murden and the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area in the “Where the Wild Things Are” walk and hands-on learning opportunity.

Murden, a wildlife biologist for Port Blakely Tree Farms, holds a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. He will share his enthusiasm and knowledge for the creatures living in our own backyard.

“It’s a kidcentric presentation,” Murden said, “but the adults get a lot out of it too.”

Murden will bring a variety of live critters: reptiles, amphibians, insects and small mammals.

“We set out live traps the night before, and we check the traps as we walk the trails the next morning,” Murden said.

The morning begins with a short presentation and a lot of show-and-tell.

They have skulls, feathers, fur, bones and teeth for the kids to examine and handle.

“He has a lot of little critters that he has collected. They are in little clear plastic boxes with air holes, and he takes them out, one by one, and shows them and lets the kids look and sometimes touch or hold,” said Sandy Godsey, president of the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area. “Needless to say, he holds their attention.”

Murden said he will teach the kids how to play “wildlife detective” along the trail and learn to spot the signs that wildlife are in the area. He will also talk about the plant along the way and which plants make good habitats for different species.

Godsey said Murden has been leading the wildlife walk with local children for at least 10 years.

He really knows how to make the learning fun, she said.

“Both Blake and Claudine (Reynolds) work with kids a lot and know how to talk to kids,” Godsey said. “It’s an art in itself.”

Kids of all ages are welcome to attend the event, there is no charge.

Murden said that the wildlife walk is a very casual event. Questions are encouraged.

“And if I don’t know the answer to a question,” Murden said, “I’ll have field guides with me and we can look it up together.”
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Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kz@tds.net.
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Seminary Hill:
If You Go

The parking lot entrance to the Seminary Hill Natural Area is located on the corner of East Locust Street and Barner Drive, Centralia.
Some trails are quite steep. Wear appropriate shoes or hiking boots; a walking stick can make climbing and descending much easier.
Be prepared for a change in the weather. Bring your camera, a water bottle and rain gear.
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Upcoming Events on Seminary Hill
June 5, Ivy Pull
Join the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area and other volunteers in working to save the forest and native plants from killer ivy.
“Ivy is an alien plant that has invaded our hill and is taking over. Ivy covers and strangles our 50-100 year old trees, ferns and covers up our wildflowers,” according to the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area.
Volunteers work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 11, Summer Poetry Walk
Led by David Underwood, the Summer Poetry Walk through the Seminary Hill Natural Area is a unique opportunity to walk to woods and hear wondrous verses by renowned bards and some stanzas by our own Northwest poets.
“Stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, and nourish your spirit,” say The Friends.
The walk begins at 10 a.m.