Cold doesn’t stop Wonder Bugs from exploring

Kids learn through outdoor activities at nature center

The thought of a Wisconsin winter can make someone want to cozy up indoors, but the people at Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona always have a way to get outdoors.

Each week a group of explorers, mainly young kids and their parents, learn about a new topic and head outside to experience or simulate it firsthand. They call themselves the Wonder Bugs, a program organized by the nature center.

Two-year-old Addy was there bundling up with her mother Stefany Grainger, who said the program keeps her daughter active.

As soon as she’s ready in her snow pants, hat and mittens, Addy’s excitement and feet take over.
On this day she and fellow Wonder Bugs hit the trails to learn more about animal tracks and scat, or as the kids put it, animal poop.

“They don’t even kind of realize they’re learning, but by the time we get home she has lots to share,” Grainger said about their experience, “We learned about squirrels a couple weeks ago and deer. It’s just stuff that growing up in Minnesota now in Wisconsin I didn’t know. Which if I can enjoy the class while Addy’s enjoying it that’s a big plus too.”

Wisconsin winters can be brutal, but Grainger said it’s important to her family to find new things to do outdoors. This helps teach appreciation and the importance of taking care of nature.

More often than not, she said it’s her kids who motivate her to explore the outdoors.

“Just saying we’re going to go to Aldo Leopold and take a walk they’re like okay! We’re going to get in the sled they’re like yeah let’s do it. They’re always willing to go outside it’s me saying okay, let’s get in the stroller lets go,” Grainger said.

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