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Floodplain Trail Closure: Fontenelle Forest’s Wetlands and Mink Trail at Neale Woods are closed due to flooding.

Floodplain Trail Closure: Fontenelle Forest’s Wetlands and Mink Trail at Neale Woods are closed due to flooding.

Spring is in the Air

Spring is nearly upon us and the Forest is lively with the chatter of birds and of school children. Our spring programming with Bellevue, OPS and area Archdiocese students is picking up and we are looking forward to a busy season in the Education department. We will welcome thousands of area students to the Forest through our programming this spring, and the education staff are dreaming up ample opportunities for families and adults to engage in learning in the Forest.

With the changing seasons, our minds begin to wander towards the upcoming summer and all the fun that will be had! We are very fortunate at Fontenelle Forest to be able to provide the opportunity for young people to really immerse themselves in the forest during the summer. Through our week-long summer camps, kids get to experience the forest in a whole new way as they spend their days exploring, learning all there is to know about the plants and animals that call this place home and using all their senses to create great memories. New to our camp experiences this summer will be our “Wheeling Through the Forest” Camp, a 3-day opportunity to explore that is totally wheelchair accessible, along with Foodies at the Forest, Adventure Camp for the older kids, and an entire week of Challenge Camp!

This summer we are excited to also be able to work with other local organizations and businesses to provide experiences here at Fontenelle. During the month of June we will hold two weeks of co-sponsored camps with Lauritzen Gardens. These camps will meet at Fontenelle Forest the first two days of camp and at Lauritzen Gardens the rest of the week.

We are also teaming up with local businesses to host 3 weeks of Expedition Omaha (visit omaharockgym.com/expedition-omaha for more info), during which campers will spend a day learning wilderness skills and hiking at Fontenelle Forest.

All of this, thrown in with our visitors from Council Bluffs Community school district, Peter Kiewit programs, hundreds of Raptor-ology and Critters programs and everything else under the sun, and our Education staff is sure to be amazingly exhausted by the time the summer is through!

For now, we revel in spotting the first of the Bloodroot to pop through the earth’s surface, to draw a student’s attention to the leaf buds just beginning to sprout on an Ironwood Tree, and to spot Raccoon tracks in the rain-softened soil. Spring is on its way, and each day  is full of wonder to be discovered in the Forest!

Elizabeth Chalen, Director of Education

Fontenelle Forest is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit.

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