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Are You Going to Eat That?

(10-Adult) Enjoy a naturalist-led hike and identify plants that are safe to eat and which ones to avoid. Other helpful plants are identified for uses such as rope making and folk remedies with connections to Eastern Woodland Indians. Wear sturdy shoes for walking, meets at the pond.


Botany Walk

(8-Adult) Take a walk to explore the plants of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Each week will emphasize a different topic: Wild flowers; trees; ferns; mosses; grasses, sedges, and rushes; plants at the pond; plants in the meadow.


Build a 3D Flower

Join a Hidden Pond Naturalist to learn about the parts of a plant and what their functions are, while building your own 3D flower artwork. Participants will need to gather supplies beforehand (supply list provided upon registration; common household items). This program covers parts of VA Science SOL 4.4.


Campfire Fridays

(3-Adult) Join us for an evening campfire the whole family can enjoy. During the program we will explore the wonders of our natural world. Our programs may include nature walks, interactive activities, animal presentations, or other opportunities to learn about nature and our place in it. Includes S’mores. Topics vary by date. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.


Campfire Night Hike - Predators at Night

(4-Adult) Enjoy a night hike to learn about nocturnal hunters. Listen to taped calls of owls and coyotes and catch a glimpse of them in the forest. End the evening with s'mores round the campfire. Children must be accompanied by an adult registered in the program.


Drawing Small Wonders

Good things come in small packages! Search for small items such as fungus, seeds, flowers, feathers, bugs and more on a 30 minute stroll. Then return to the shelter to create a nature sampler of several objects from our collection or borrow a chair to draw nearby. Your choice of art supplies: colored pencils or watercolors, whatever you have on hand. Six foot distancing and face masks will be required for safety. Sorry, but the bathrooms will not be open. Cancelled in case of heavy rain or thunderstorm.


Erosion – It Wears You Down

Rocks move and change over time. Participants will learn how processes like weathering and erosion fit into the rock cycle. On a less geologic timescale, we’ll focus on how erosion affects our streams and waterways and what humans are doing to speed up this process. We’ll look at examples of streams in Hidden Pond park and provide a demonstration of the erosion process that you can experiment with at home. This program covers parts of VA Science SOL 5.7


Family Outdoor Exploration

Get your family into the great outdoors with a personalized naturalist or historian led program. This choose your own exploration can investigate topics like, Stream Life, Pond Life, Historic Ice Cream, and much more! Once you register, we will reach out to you to plan your family exploration.


Fireflies in the Meadow

(4-Adult) Meet at Cabell's Mill. As dusk approaches, the meadow is lit with fireflies. Join us in illuminating the world of small night creatures. Bring a plastic jar with a lid to catch and then release. Wear long pants, socks and closed shoes. Flashlights and insect repellent are useful. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.


Fishing at the Pond

This special program will allow participants to fish, with a pond fishing pro. You can use one of our traditional bamboo poles, your own rod, or (the method used by one our volunteers) string tied to their big toe. Previously cleaned individual poles and individual bait containers along with instruction is provided. We will assign several fishing locales for folks to practice social fishing distance. Six foot distancing and face masks will be required for safety. Sorry, but the bathrooms will not be open. Cancelled in case heavy rain or thunderstorm.


Growing and Protecting a Park Forest

(4-Adult) Walk with the Resource Manager, as you are given insights on how this 650 acre county park of forests, meadows and streams is kept healthy and thriving. Learn about native plants and invasive species that makeup the park's wildlife habitat. Walk is seasonally based. 


Humming Birds – Our Winged Wonders

(8yrs-adult) Learn about these fascinating little birds – where they come from, how they make their tiny nests, what they eat and more. Observe them at our feeders and make a hummingbird feeder to take home.


Insects and Spiders

This twilight adventure will allow us to see spiders that are active by day as well as those coming out for the evening. Using containers, insect nets, and id guides: Our intrepid naturalist takes you through forest and field to search for some of our creepy crawly residents. Supplies (cleaned for personal use) will be individual and returned for cleaning at the end of the program. Six foot distancing and face masks will be required for safety. Sorry, but the bathrooms will not be open. Cancelled in case heavy rain or thunderstorm.


Invasive Invaders

What is an invasive species? Why are they bad for Fairfax County? Find out by joining this program with a Naturalist from Hidden Pond Nature Center. We’ll discuss what makes a species more able to “invade” and learn to identify some invasive species that are found at Hidden Pond – and maybe in your own backyard


Invasive Plant Identification Walk

(8-Adult) Identify some Fairfax County's common invasive plant species. Explore ways to lessen these plants around your home.


Is Your Stream Healthy?

Learn why it’s important to keep our streams and creeks healthy. In this program, a naturalist from Hidden Pond Nature Center will explain how aquatic macroinvertebrates (bugs!) are used to measure the health of a stream. We’ll learn to identify some of these critters and then play a game to simulate a catch in the stream. Participants will need to prepare supplies beforehand, including printing and assembling paper game cubes (template and instructions provided upon registration).


Life in the Lake (5-Adult)

(5-Adult) Walk the shores of Burke Lake to see which animals live there, then grab a dip net and see what's wiggling. Tadpoles, Minnows and dragonfly nymphs all live here so see what you can catch. Dress for the weather and wear shoes that can get wet.


Lifecycles in the Pond: Butterfly

Learn about life in a pond! Part 3 of this series focuses on the lifecycle of a butterfly. Join a Hidden Pond Naturalist to learn about what makes the pond ecosystem special and the food webs within it. Learn how a butterfly’s habitat and niche within the ecosystem changes throughout its life. This program covers VA Science SOL 4.5.


Lifecycles in the Pond: Dragonfly

Did you know that a dragonfly spends most of its life underwater? Learn about life in a pond! Part 2 of this series focuses on the lifecycle of a dragonfly. Join a Hidden Pond Naturalist to learn about what makes the pond ecosystem special and the food webs within it. Learn how a dragonfly’s habitat and niche within the ecosystem changes significantly throughout its life. This program covers VA Science SOL 4.5


Lifecycles in the Pond: Frog

Learn about life in a pond! Part I of this series focuses on the lifecycle of a frog. Join a Hidden Pond Naturalist to learn about what makes the pond ecosystem special and the food webs within it. Learn how a frog’s habitat and niche within the ecosystem changes throughout its life. This program covers VA Science SOL 4.5.


Meadow Bug Hunt

(4-Adult) The meadow is a-buzz with bug life. Come capture and release amazing insects and other arthropods. Learn the secret of this special meadow habitat. Insect jars and nets provided. Wear long pants and closed shoes, insect repellent optional. Bring a field guide if you have one. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.


Mimicry in Nature

Join a Hidden Pond Naturalist to learn what “mimicry” in nature is and how animals use it as a defense strategy, while creating your own unique butterfly-themed artwork, worthy of display! Participants will need to gather supplies beforehand, including printing out a butterfly template onto cardstock (supply list provided upon registration; common household items).


Natural Wonders and Your Preschooler

Join us for a zoom meeting with park experts to explore techniques for sharing the joys of nature with preschoolers through fun facts and direct engagement opportunities, all with safety in mind. Ideal for parents, teachers, caretakers and babysitters. Each session will be offered twice. Topics for each session are: 7/19 or 7/21: Native Reptiles: Separating Fact from Fiction, 8/4 or 8/6: Native Amphibians: Metamorphosing Marvels, 8/16 or 8/18: Backyard Birds: Winged Wonders and 8/23 or 8/25: Native Plants & Trees: Knowing What You Have in Your Yard Matters.


Nature Drawing

(Adults) How can you learn directly about natural subjects without a text book or computer screen? Through drawing! Learn about how to keep a field sketch book to learn about plants and animals all around you plus get some basic drawing instruction. Drawing is fun, improves your observational skills and adds a dimension to your time spent outdoors. No prior skill required. 6-foot distancing required. Face masks recommended. Indoor restrooms are not available. Portable restroom may be available.


Nature Drawing Ancient Plants

(Adults) Huntley's forests are home to certain plants whose ancestors have been with us since dinosaur times. Join local artist and naturalist Margaret Wohler to learn about and sketch ferns and moss while keeping a complimentary field guide sketch book. All drawing materials included, courtesy of the RunningBrooke Fund. 6-foot distancing required. Face masks recommended. Indoor restrooms are not available. Portable restroom may be available.


Nature Drawing Leaves

(Adults) Leaves come in many shapes, sizes and colors and are important parts of a plant that allows them to thrive. Drawing leaves is a fun way to improve your observational skills. Join park naturalists as we develop our drawing skills practicing with various leaf shapes. 6-foot distancing required. Face masks recommended. Indoor restrooms are not available. Portable restroom may be available.


Nature Photography

(Adults) Learn how to use a DSLR and tripod to capture images of the natural world around us. Try a variety of techniques to compose creative images of animals and landscapes. Designed for beginners to intermediate skills levels. Bring your own DSLR camera. 6-foot distancing required and face masks recommended. Indoor restrooms are not available. Portable restroom may be available.


Nature Your Way at Hidden Oaks

(All Ages) Join your naturalist for a personal walking tour along the Old Oak Trail for up to 9 members of any age in your family group. Roll logs, investigate critters and plants , ask questions, and chat about your nature interests. Tour will include visiting with one live animal of your choice--toad, turtle or snake. Additional dates may become available and offered to those on wait list. Registration is for entire family (up to 9 members including at least one adult) and will close 3 days before each date.


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