The Madrona Marsh Nature Center in Torance, CA is a nature preserve devoted to letting people experience nature in the last remaining vernal marsh in Los Angeles County. From it’s website, “A vernal marsh is a depression flooded by runoff water from surrounding upland slopes. Vernal means spring, thus by connotation the marsh is fed by winter and spring storms. After the rainy season passes, evaporation, percolation and transpiration reduce the water depth by about one fourth inch per day. By the end of August, the wetland is dry and remains dry until the next rainy season.”

The Madrona Marsh Nature Center offers family hikes, homeschooling tours, school tours, bird watching gatherings, senior strolls, habitat restoration opportunities as well as others in programs for the public. The programs at the marsh are by donation. Here is the link to their calendar:

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com/calendar.htm

On Friday mornings, Cindy Reid hosts a program for 3-6 year olds called Friday Fun. We’ve had the pleasure in participating in two Friday Funs. Friday Fun consists of an overall theme regarding nature. After the children find their name tags, they sit on a carpeted area while Cindy reads them a book related to the theme of the day. When we went, the themes were the marsh and springtime flowers.  A fun learning activity such as demonstrating the food chain follows and then a puppet show, an art exploration and finally, a hike in the marsh. The teachers are incredibly dedicated to letting the children learn and experience in their own way and it reminds me of the science camps I loved attending when I was younger. Here is a photo essay of our days there.

Cindy Reid reading a story.

Carol demonstrating the food chain in nature.

Cindy Reid performing a puppet show about the food chain while Carol and the children watch.

Mishy creating nature inspired art.

Looking at the marsh on our hike.

The group of children, parents and teachers on the trail.

The clouds on the day of our hike.

By the marsh to look for insects.

Looking for insects in the water.

Mishy standing by the marsh.

Looking at gopher or mole holes.

Looking for the FBIs - fungus, bacteria, and insects.

Mishy points to a mole hole.

Details:

Madrona Marsh Nature Center

http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com

Bonus photos:

Mishy watching the turtle after it's eaten

Mishy touching the snake skin on display inside the nature center.

Cindy Reid showing Mishy the seeds in the spring flowers.

Lori, M, and Mishy looking at the young blossoms.

These photos were taken with my new camera – the Panasonic Lumix. I love this camera! I bought it when I thought my former camera was lost. While it turned out I didn’t need to buy another camera because my husband found the other camera, I am happy to have purchased this one. It has a Lecia lens. Most importantly, I bought it used on Amazon.com. Here’s the link for more details on amazon with reviews:

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Mishy and me trying to do Tai Chi during Huntington Library's Chinese Lunar New Year's Festival this year.

We’re members of Huntington Library in Pasadena. Prior to being members, I did my best for a year to access free tickets online. On the first of the month, I would stand with our two computers five minute before nine in the morning and wait to click at exactly 9AM to get our free tickets. When I first started this ritual, I got the tickets and my friend, Patti, with her daughter, Cady and Mishy and me would head to Huntington Library on the first Thursday of the month to enjoy all that Huntington Library as to offer – usually the children’s garden, and sometimes the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Australian Garden, the Rose Garden and the museum inside Huntington Library. After a year, it became nearly impossible for me to get free tickets and that’s when I thought – it would be worth the investment to become a member.

I first heard about the Huntington Library when I was taking my driver’s license test in Los Angeles. The person who was testing me was incredibly relaxed and had all the confidence in the world that I was going to pass because I had a learner’s permit from Ontario, Canada. He mistakenly took the learner’s permit for an actual driver’s license. (He didn’t know I had failed my driver’s license test in Ontario a few months before and just before that test, my husband threw the car keys at me and screamed, “You’re going to fail! You’re going to fail!” After that failed test, I sat in the car and cried – well, bawled – actually howled and was on the verge of hyperventilating. When my husband didn’t come out of the building because miracles of miracles, he thought I had passed my test, I knew I had to go inside with my tear-stained face. While a sixteen year old boy was being congratulated by his family, everyone inside the testing location saw my distressed face, including my husband who remained silent as he quickly walked back to the car. I told him from then on, he’s not going to teach me how to drive.) During my test in Los Angeles, the person who was testing me sat back while I drove and told me all the places I needed to go to in the Los Angeles area. The Huntington Library was first on his list.

Here is a blog post I wrote about our time at the Huntington Library, with pictures.

http://wp.me/pN7Op-4C

Natural Traveling Momma is excited to be able to giveaway two tickets to the Huntington Library on any day. (It has a maximum value of $40.) Children under the age of 5 are admitted free. To enter, please comment below. To gain an additional entry, click on the link of the Huntington Library and comment again. The giveaway ends on April 15th at 5PM. Good luck.

Details:

Huntington Library

www.huntington.org – the link doesn’t seem to be working right now. I’ve tried to re-link, but it still comes up to an invalid page. If you just visit this website I guess by cut & paste, please comment again and get another entry.

Currently, they have an exhibition of sculptures and stories by John Frame – Three Fragments of A Lost Tale until June 20, 2011.