Nature Explorer Activity Kits
Available year-round. (Snowshoes recommended for winter trail use.)
Explore the woods and gardens of The Fells with our Nature Explorer Activity Kit! Topics include; Finding Your Way and Safety, Mammals, Birds and Insects, Spiders and Webs, Animal Tracks, Trees, Habitats, and Nature Journaling. Twenty packs available, each containing binoculars, a magnifying glass, a NH animals track guide, an ecology-themed activity booklet (appropriate for grades K-4), a map, clipboard, and pen–all packed into a convenient backpack. Packs may be signed out at the Gatehouse weekdays, 9am-4pm. Free use with Fells admission (deposit of driver’s license or major credit card required, to be returned upon receipt of backpack and items). School groups click HERE.
The Fells Fairy Village
Visit the Fairy Village, tucked in a woodland niche behind the Old Garden–just off the Wildflower Loop–a special place where families connect with nature. For as long as stories have been told, fairies have captured the imagination of the young and young at heart. Many houses make a village, build yours with natural found objects and leave for all–including the woodland fairies–to enjoy.
Valley Quest uses treasure hunts to celebrate community, natural history, cultural sites, stories and special places. The Fells hosts a summer Valley Quest, one of over 200 in and around the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Each quest is a set of rhyming clues that leads guests by and to a special natural or cultural place. Solve the riddle to find a treasure box. You can find The Fells Quest (also known as the Hay Refuge Quest) in Valley Quest: 89 Treasure Hunts in the Upper Valley (2001) and in the upcoming Valley Quest III: The Best of Valley Quest (2008). Copies of the Fells Quest are also available at The Fells Gatehouse. For more information on Valley Quest, visit www.vitalcommunities.org.
Out and About Preschool Nature Series
Out And About is a monthly one hour class for Preschoolers and a caregiver. Each class offers activities, art projects, outside exploration and discussion on a specific topic. Some projects and activities provided by the Growing Up WILD curriculum created by the Council for Environmental Education. The course is led by childhood educator Lawre Goodnow. Dress for indoor and outdoor activities. Free with Fells membership, $5 per child for non-member. Private classes available for scheduling for preschools/groups. Classes fill fast. Advance reservations required. 603-763-4789 x 3. Meet at Fells Gatehouse classroom. Made possible by support from the Lincoln Financial Foundation the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Wellborn Ecology Fund.
- Nature’s Shapes, Sizes, Colors and Me
Saturday, March 9, 11am-noon
Use a collection of pictures of human body parts and match them to objects in nature. Compare how you and the shapes we find in nature are the same, and different. Create a body-tracing and imagine a world in which you are a tree!
- Waking up to Spring, Bird Songs & Nests
Saturday, April 27, 11am-noon
Nothing says springtime like listening to the birds sing and watching them build their nests. Celebrate the season of renewal by taking a walk to learn some familiar bird songs and search for bird nests. Then create your own song and nest!
- A Visit to the Fairy Village
Saturday, May 18, 11am-noon
Walk to the FairyVillage and create your own original fairy house. Leader Lawre Goodnow will read a story and provide special materials to enhance your fairy house. This excursion takes participants further down the path to investigate the magic and mystery of nature.
Bird Song, Sap and Stars: Tales of the Vernal Season
Saturday, March 2, 11am-noon
Come celebrate the onset of maple sugaring and other early signs of spring with indigenous stories and songs as retold by Fells Education Director, storyteller and author Michael Caduto. How did maple sugaring come to be? (Chippewa) Who gave songs to the birds? (Mohawk) Why does Turtle spend the winter at the bottom of the pond? (Dakota) Traditional tales, participatory songs, Native instruments and a circle dance celebrate the circle of the seasons. Members free; nonmember $5 per family. Meets at The Fells Gatehouse classroom. Supported by grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Wellborn Ecology Fund and the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
Monday-Friday, July 8-12, 9am-12:30pm
Through stories and activities, campers, ages 6-11, will bring history alive as they learn about The Fells, John Hay’s summer estate on LakeSunapee. Campers will tour the house and grounds and see how each generation of Hay family made their mark and reflected the fashionable trends of their time. Campers will construct a timeline to illustrate the historical period from 1890 to present, including their own family stories. Activities will include cooking, gardening, writing, drawing and a simple boat building activity. A highlight of the week will be a visit from Ellen Wassel, Alice Hay’s personal maid from 1974-1978. She will share stories from her book Hay Day and describing a typical day at The Fells from a maid’s point of view. Led by Rhode Island School of Design-trained artist and child educator, Lawre Goodnow. Members $125, nonmembers $150, includes all materials. Children bring lunch and personal necessities. Limited enrollment, registration required by July 2. Funded by the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
Art in Nature for Children—Rustic Sculptures
Thursday-Friday, July 18-19, 9am-1pm
Children, ages 6-12, create outdoor sculpture from local material. This fun and energetic camp with artist Mark Ragonese teaches children to develop a deeper understanding of their environment and their innate artistic creativity. Children make and bring home a sculpture and also help create one that will be displayed on The Fells grounds. Mark is a juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen and the NH State Council on the Arts. Members $80, nonmembers $100, includes all materials. Children bring lunch and personal necessities. Limited enrollment, registration required by July 12. Funded by the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
2013 Ecology Camp for Children
Monday through Friday, July 22-26, 9am-12:30pm
Children, ages 6-13, will enhance their love and respect for the natural world while learning wetland and watershed ecology with naturalists and scientists. Activities will be outdoors, weather permitting and include hiking and boating on LakeSunapee. Campers should bring a towel, sneakers and rain gear. Offered by the Newbury Recreation Dept. and Lake Sunapee Protective Association staff in partnership with The Fells. Contact Travis Dezotell, NewburyParks and Recreation Dept.: email@example.com, 603-763-4940 x210, http://newburynh.org
Fairy House Festival and Tea Party
Sunday, July 28, 1-4pm
Back by popular demand! A celebration of Fairy Houses that connects children to the natural world. This magical afternoon features Tracy Kane reading from her book, Fairy Houses, and sharing photos of whimsical fairy habitats built from all natural materials to attract fairies and their friends. Children visit The Fells Fairy Village and create their very own fairy house. The afternoon culminates with a meet-the-author/book signing by Tracy Kane and a fanciful Tea Party on the Veranda. Children are invited to wear original garments inspired by their idea of fairies, fairy houses and the magic of nature and to bring an original fairy house for display (optional). Children $6, adults $12, includes site admission. Advance registration required by July 22. Space limited, sign up early to guarantee your spot. Supported by grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Wellborn Ecology Fund, and the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
About Tracy Kane: author, Illustrator, educator
Tracy Kane majored in illustration at Philadelphia College of Art. She also studied in London, England where she met her husband, Barry. After working as a commercial artist for NH Public Television, she now spends most of her time introducing communities to the joy of fairy house building. Says Tracy: “My goal in producing the Fairy House’s Series, is to connect children with the wonders of nature. I use the fairies as a vehicle to remind them that nature’s magic is all around us.”
Writing the Landscape Camp for Grades 7-12
Monday through Friday, July 29-August 2, 9am-noon
This week-long camp, sponsored by the National Writing Project of NH, focuses on writing about nature. Participants explore the beauty of The Fells as a catalyst for their own writing. Instructors Amanda Leslie, NWPNH fellow and Colby Sawyer College writing instructor, and Tammis Coffin, Coordinator of The Fells John Hay Ecology Center, will lead participants through a rich historical landscape of woodland and lakefront trails and gardens. The published works of renowned naturalist John Hay (1915-2011) and the land itself will inspire the writing, which will be revised and shared within the group. $115 per child, all materials provided. Limited enrollment, registration required by July 22. Funded by the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
Painting the Landscape – Children’s Art in Nature Summer Camp
Monday-Tuesday, August 5-6, 9am-12:30pm
Students, ages 6-12, paint in The Fells gardens and woodlands. Megan Cardillo instructs on the use of various media including watercolor and acrylic, and traditional drawing and painting techniques. Children learn about composition, color, perspective and texture and create their own unique landscape paintings. Megan has a BA in Art from WittenbergUniversity and Certification in K-12 Art Ed from Parson’s School of Design. She has 12 years of experience teaching all ages in private and public schools and currently teaches elementary art in Newport, NH. Members $65, nonmembers $80, all materials provided. Children bring lunch and personal necessities. Limited enrollment, registration required by July 29. Funded by the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation.
Hay Day Family Festival
Saturday, August 10, 10am-3pm
This is our most popular family event! Enjoy old-fashioned games, music, children’s art projects, scavenger hunt, petting zoo, face painting and delicious food. Features a live performance of the New London Barn Playhouse Junior Players. While here explore our varied nature trails, visit the FairyVillage, view the Art in Nature-2013 outdoor sculpture exhibit and the Main House art exhibit, Animals of The Fells. Hourly historic tours of the Main House and a 1pm tour of the gardens offered. Members free, nonmembers pay site admission. Rain or shine.
Take a Child Outside Week
In cooperation with Take a Child Outside Week, an international program created to help and encourage children discover the natural world, The Fells extends an invitation to “Bring a child, receive one free adult admission.” All children are free. Be part of this national movement and bring a child to The Fells to experience the beauty of our natural world. For more information see ww.takeachildoutside.org.