Pollinators aplenty floated above and wandered among the plants of Eagle Marsh.

On June 24, Little River Wetlands Project held a Short Hikes for Short Legs program at the Eagle Marsh barn at 6801 Engle Road in southwest Fort Wayne, with emphasis on pollinators.

The event was targeted for children between ages 3-5 and was led by LRWP volunteer Bonnie Pomerantz and LRWP Wetland Educator Allyson Munger.

Eagle Marsh is home to many pollinators, insects and animals included. Butterflies and bees are the most well known pollinators, but bats, birds and ants weren’t forgotten either.

Ants are known for pollinating peonies, Indiana’s state flower, which is known for its large blooms and beautiful colors. Hummingbirds and bats help pollinate deep-throated flowers such as cardinal flowers and morning glories.

The program started with a reading of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” the well known children’s novel. Participants then went on a hike to collect materials in order to create their very own pollinator collage masterpiece.

Each participant was given an extendable net and a paper bag to carry their green goodies. Presenters guided participants in what to pick ranging from leaves, flowers and stems, as well as identifying native and invasive plants. They also helped children catch various pollinators before releasing them again.

“Here at Eagle Marsh, everything is protected. Plants can live here and not worry about being picked,” Munger said.

That’s especially important for native plants, in order to help them thrive.

Afterward, participants finished their green collages and took them home as a memory of the program.

Although there are no more Short Hikes programs on the calendar for 2020, educational opportunities abound. Little River Ramblers will walk or trudge through one of the preserves from 9-11 a.m. each Tuesday through December. “Dress for the weather. Boots are recommended,” LRWP recommends. “Bring binoculars if you’d like a close-up view!” Visitors will ramble through Arrowhead Prairie on Tuesdays in June, September and December. The hikes move to the Eagle Marsh west entrance, by the Boy Scout office parking lot, in July and October. Walks originate at the Eagle Marsh barn in August and November.

Read about the array of activities at the LRWP website, lrwp.org.

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