Others may think of cold, biting wind and want to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. No matter what winter brings this year, think about going outside and visiting an ACRES’ preserve.
You can visit any of the open preserves, but parking areas at the following will be maintained and accessible throughout the winter:
Allen County: Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve
Kosciusko County: Wildwood Nature Preserve
LaGrange County: Maple Wood Nature Preserve
Steuben County: Wing Haven Nature Preserve
Wabash County: Asherwood and Mary Thornton Nature Preserve
Being outside can reduce stress, promote physical and emotional wellness, and may help you think more clearly. Remember: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Here are some ideas for outdoor winter activities in an ACRES’ preserve.
- Take a hike. The same preserve can look very different in winter compared to summer.
- Snowshoe! (Snowshoes will make short work of deep snow on the trails.)
- Cross country ski.
- Walk the dog (on a leash, please).
- Have a snowball fight with the kids.
- Bird watch. Look for bird nests in trees.
- Take a walk in the falling snow (“Whose woods these are I think I know…”).
- Have a winter picnic. Take blankets, sandwiches and hot soup in a thermos.
- Take photos or draw pictures of the trees.
- Snap a family photo at your favorite preserve, then take it again in summer at the same spot.
- Exercise. Hiking in deep snow can provide an awesome workout.
- Listen to how different things sound in the winter (interpret that two ways…).
- Look for animal tracks.
- Play tag.
- Do a winter scavenger hunt.
- Catch a snowflake in your mouth or look at it with a magnifying glass.
- Draw shapes or write words in the snow.
- Make a winter nature journal.
- See what the rivers and creeks and waterfalls look like in winter.
- Make a snow sculpture.
- Look for squirrel nests.
- Listen to the sound of falling snow.
- Use a ruler to measure the snow.
- Enjoy hot chocolate when you get home.
Don’t forget about Winter Creek Stomp- 3rd Winter Edition on Saturday, January 27 at Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run. Explore one of ACRES’ premiere properties, a unique place and regional gem, from the creek. The creek is closed the rest of the year for its protection. Creek Stomps are your exclusive opportunity to see it up close.
Check out amazing images from past Winter Creek Stomps: acreslandtrust.org/
This creek and its surrounding 65 foot gorge is active all year, revealing a whole new batch of discoveries during the winter months: 20 foot icicles, frozen waterfalls and fossils.
Come see what you’ve been missing! Weather depending, we’ll either be walking through frigid water or on ice—waterproof boots suggested. Regardless, you’ll be cold, wet and captivated.
(After the hike, you’ll appreciate having dry shoes, socks … and maybe pants in your car). Happy trails!
Share your experiences on ACRES’ website, or on Facebook, or write a poem or story and send it to us. (It might just end up in the next Quarterly.)