A young quester starts on her trek

The second annual Wright Park Quest Walk was held on Saturday, July 7, again showcasing a unique side trail that winds its way to the banks of Otter Creek.  Nine OCAS members set up six stations – providing Quest walkers the surprise of coming upon a variety of hands-on activities along the trail.  All the stations were new this year so repeat Questers had different opportunities for discovery. Milkweed plants were examined, revealing a newly hatched Monarch caterpillar.  Another station provided binoculars to search for shrubland birds.  While a decomposing log might often be overlooked, a naturalist was there today to point out the many organisms that depend on it for survival.  The banks of Otter Creek revealed many signs of river otter activity – scat, tracks in the mud, and resting areas.  Here also was the chance to make track rubbings, and to use forms to make other mammal tracks.  With wide river views, walkers saw Osprey and Kingfisher fly overhead.  Further along, a spotting scope was set up on a rock ledge.  A “mystery bird” activity used real Red-tailed Hawk parts to explore the adaptations of raptors.  Finally, walkers reached their ending goal of the Quest – the birdhouse “treasure,” a wildflower display, and the delicious “trail appropriate snack” – gorp!!

Many thanks go out to the 10 Otter Creek Audubon and Middlebury Area Land Trust members who shared their time and knowledge to make this special event available to the Addison County community.

– Carol Ramsayer