Signs of Spring

On a day like this, rather than peering out the window wishing we could be outside, we witnessed first-hand this amazing time of growth and change; the evidence was all around us.  This month’s excursion with West Side Christian School’s Nature-based Preschool lead us towards a  special destination. Along the way the preschoolers noted some signs of spring.  Here are a few highlights of what the young learners spotted (the adults wrote down their observations): more green, new leaves, MUD, robins fighting, wild onions, singing birds, migrating geese flying, edible leaves, PUDDLES, ducks quacking, and frogs peeping.


“A deer has been here too! I see its tracks!”

Opening tree buds lined our path, birds sang their spring-time tune, and the natural world put on a show.   Our excursion led us to the marsh. This place teems with a variety of animal and plant life. We used nets to dip into the water to uncover what creatures lived there.  A world of wonder appeared before each child as they made new discoveries.

These Blandford nature-based moments play a role in growing a strong educational foundation. The experiences extend into continued learning back at school and home.

Related: “In Their Own Words” What West Side Christian’s current Nature-based Preschool parents had to say about the partnership with Blandford.

If you’re interested in developing nature-based, place-based learning experiences like this for your preschool students please contact Janet Staal at

Here are some ways to turn these natural learning moments into some extended  learning experiences:

·         Create a life cycle book : have your child become the expert on one of Michigan’s animals’ life cycles – bees, butterflies, frogs, and even plants – Blandford’s Signs of Spring Pinterest page has the links saved there.

·         Come out to return to the marsh or find a nearby pond. What changes does your child notice? Count as many of the different kinds of animals you can see. Take a net and tray with you so that you can dip to find new creatures. Be sure to return all the creatures that you find so that their offspring will be a part of our world so their offspring can be a part of our children’s future.

·         Check out one of Blandford’s FREE adventure back packs to use as you take your own “Signs of Spring” hike. Make discoveries and ask your child what questions they have about animals in spring.

Upcoming events:

The Earth Day and Grand Opening Celebration is happening April 22 from 1pm – 3pm. 

Join the Blandford Crew as we unveil the new Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center to the Grand Rapids Community! Ribbon cutting ceremony, building tours, property tours, wildilfe encounters and much more await you on Earth Day.

May 13 10am – 11:30 am – Morning on the Marsh

The life at Blandford’s Cattail Marsh is coming alive with new life. Bring your family to get an up close look at the tiny babies in the underwater world. We will dip for some of the smaller creature living in the water and visit the Timpson Tower to get a bird’s eye view –we’ll use binoculars.


Blandford’s beautiful and complex ecosystems are here so children can learn, engage, explore, enjoy and value nature’s endless wonders.  Blandford offers a variety of field trip experiences, community programs, and seasonal camps.





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