Early in the term, I visit the class for 90 minutes or so to show the class members pictures of the area birds--fun, too, because I got to try out my new portable speaker and the new Sibley Bird application that offers the usual information about the birds but also includes bird songs.
As a general rule, I join the class on at least two bird walks along the Trace Trail; however, this year the weather refused to cooperate.
Still, I went with Joanna's class on two excellent and informative excursions.
First, we went for the day to the Omaha Zoo where we enjoyed some behind-the-scenes fun and, well, instruction. Among other things, the class got to see first hand how the specializes staff feed and gather information about Sting Rays and other fish.
And later in the afternoon, we went to the children's portion of the zoo, the petting area, and saw how the staff train the goats and take care of other animals, including two absolutely darling female prairie dogs.
For the remainder of that day, I wandered with the students to various places, including the aviary and the new sections of the zoo for the wonderful lemurs.
On a chilly day in October, we all piled into a couple college vans and headed to Squaw Creek in Missouri, a place I enjoy visiting.
There, we enjoyed a tour of the park's center and the area at the hands of the head of the park services.
The ranger proved excellent, and I learned a lot more about the flora and fauna and the management of the Wildlife Refuge adjacent to the Loess Blufs that extend into western Iowa.
The pictures reveal both the chill and the pleasure for our guide and for all in the vans.
I returned in December to Squaw Creek for the annual Eagle Days events.