Pfeiffer winter activity kits

Snowshoers and hikers are seen on a trail at Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville in the past. Pfeiffer is currently offering Winter Seasonal Activity Kits for Kids, as well as a Winter Snowshoe/Hike at the Lillibridge Property.

OLEAN — The winter months often prompt families to look for indoor, and outdoor, activities for kids and adults.

At Pfeiffer Nature Center, staff have found the answer for both of those activities with the upcoming Winter Seasonal Activity Kits for Kids and a Winter Snowshoe/Hike for all at the Lillibridge Property.

Bev Jones, nature program coordinator at Pfeiffer, said the $3 Activity Kits for Kids can be purchased online at pfeiffernaturecenter.org through Jan. 25 and will be available for pick up Jan. 29 through Feb. 20. Click on “Register for Our Programs” online below the Programs Calendar.

Pfeiffer staff will contact participants to confirm the kit reservation and pick-up time and location. The kits will contain seasonally-themed activities that can be done at Pfeiffer’s properties as well as at home. An educational nature walk, activity sheets and crafts are examples of what the kits contain. Kits will be packed using COVID-19 precautions and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.

“I’m starting to put the kits together at this point and I’ll make them available toward the end of January,” Jones said, noting she plans to provide kits for all four seasons.

“We have this one for winter and we’ll also do one for spring and for summer,” Jones explained. “They all include a walk or hike at Lillibridge, but maybe the spring and summer will be at the Eshelman Property.”

Jones said the kits will direct participants on a guided walk and will include an educational map for a trail at one of the Pfeiffer properties.

“Our first fall activity was about trees and this one is going to be about how our wild neighbors pass time through the winter,” she continued. “Some animals will migrate and leave town for better options and food, and some will remain here and are true hibernators that sleep through the winter. Others are semi-sleepers and will hibernate some and wake up and then go back to hibernation again.”

She said a true hibernator is the woodchuck, and the bear, which is birthing its cubs right now, are the semi-sleepers.

“She kind of wakes up so she can clean (the cubs) and warm them,” Jones said of the mother bear. “The cubs don’t hibernate but they spend the rest of the winter drinking mom’s milk — they’re just an interesting animal.

“One size does not fit all when it comes to Mother Nature, so that’s kind of what is interesting about this (activity) ... and what animals go through to make it through the winter.”

Jones said one of the kit’s features is a walk through the Lillibridge Property, at 1974 Lillibridge Road, to review animals found in the woods.

The winter kit, which can be enjoyed by most ages, also includes a couple of activity sheets celebrating Groundhog Day, which is observed Feb. 2.

Also following on the heels of the kit activities, will be the one-hour Winter Snowshoe/Hike at Pfeiffer, beginning at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at the Lillibridge Property. The event is free, but the public must pre-register due to adherence to COVID-19 safety measures requiring 10 to a group, social distancing and masks. Participants will be contacted to confirm registrations made online.

Jones said participants may bring their own snowshoes or borrow a pair of traditional, wooden bear paw snowshoes from Pfeiffer. The hike is both for the novice and advanced hiker alike.

Snowshoes for children are one-size-fits-all for youngsters ages 13 and up.

“We don’t really have snowshoes available for the younger kids,” she added. “But if people want to bring children with small feet and they have shoes available for them, they are more than welcome.”

More information can be obtained by calling the Pfeiffer office at 933-0187. Donations are also welcome to help with overhead for the non-profit agency and to offset costs of programs, and can PO Box 802, Portville, NY 14770.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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