2016-06-30 / Nature

Children’s Programming at Sachuest

By Jack Kelly


USFWS volunteer Alyssa Grayson will lead educational programming on Tuesdays during July at Sachuest Point NWR. USFWS volunteer Alyssa Grayson will lead educational programming on Tuesdays during July at Sachuest Point NWR. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge will offer an educational and fun series of family-friendly, child-oriented nature programs every Tuesday during the month of July, beginning on Tuesday, July 5, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The series will be led by 15-yearold USFWS volunteer Alyssa Grayson, a wildlife advocate, who has volunteered at the NWR complex since the age of eight. Grayson’s presentations will explore a diverse and entertaining spectrum of the natural world, including coyotes, dinosaurs, pollinators, ocean creatures, and her favorite, wolves.

“I plan my programs on many different subjects based on my volunteer experiences,” Grayson stated. “These presentations will include slide shows, story times, arts and crafts, and guided nature walks. Sometimes I choose a movie that goes along with the theme of the program, and I will bake cookies for the kids to decorate.”


As a USFWS volunteer Grayson helps with data collection at Kettle Pond NWR. (Photos supplied by Cheri Grayson) As a USFWS volunteer Grayson helps with data collection at Kettle Pond NWR. (Photos supplied by Cheri Grayson) Grayson has a long list of volunteer projects to her credit. She has participated in the citizen scientist endeavor with FrogWatch USA, offered through the Roger Williams Park Zoo, where she monitored wood frogs in the vernal pond at Kettle Pond NWR. She has also taken part in amphibian egg mass studies, invasive plant pulls, and data collections to document white-tailed deer populations. This summer she is volunteering with biologists and scientists from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the University of Rhode Island to collect data on the bat and black bear populations in the Ocean State.

The program on Tuesday, July 5, is entitled “Coyotes and You,” and will draw from Grayson’s work with the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study during the summer of 2015. “I was involved in the coyote radio-collaring project, and I spent the summer gathering data from one of the collared coyotes, tracking it across the region,” she explained. The day’s events will begin at 10 a.m. with a slide show about coyotes, their behaviors and their habitat, and why they are important to a healthy ecosystem. Thereafter, the day’s activities are:

11 a.m. Story time: “Coyote Story: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest,” by Gerald McDermott.

Noon: Meet the coywolf, a presentation on a fascinating creature which is a hybrid of western coyote and eastern wolf.

1 p.m. Arts and crafts, finger painting and cut-out coyotes.

2 p.m. Feature film: “Barnyard,” animated animals on a farm play, dance and sing while the farmer is away.

“My hope is that by offering these programs, kids will want to get outside more and explore the natural world,” Grayson said. “Maybe they will want to learn more about a certain topic or animal, and develop a lifelong love of the outdoors and nature, so that they will want to protect the environment and wildlife for the generations to come.”

For more information on July’s programs at Sachuest Point NWR, call 401-847-5511 daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., or visit fws.gov/refuge/ sachuest_ point/. The refuge complex also maintains a Facebook page at Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuges.

Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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