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Mill Trail Open House - Forest Exploration Recap!

Falsehorn Fly!

One of the beautiful faerie houses from the weekend!

Unidentified species of skipper

On Saturday, we had a great turn out at the Mill Trail Open House. We searched for bugs, insects, and other creatures from the forest floor, and had a wonderful Fun & Friends event: making Faerie Houses! 

At the start of the day, visitors took a quick tour of the cabin, asking questions about the famous baseball bat above the doorway, the sconces on the walls, and Moravian style. After walking around the cabin, we went outside to start constructing the faerie houses with Mila and Sam!

On our way down to the Bingham Falls trail, I saw a little salamander slowly making its way across the trail. I carefully picked it up (without any bug spray or sunscreen on my hands!) and showed it to everyone. The salamander was a red eft, a creature that is seen everywhere during this time of year. The red eft is the juvenile land stage of the Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). The red eft will turn into an adult Eastern Newt after 2-3 years, where it will inhabit small bodies of fresh water, such as the Little River!

Everyone's faerie houses were interesting, unique, and all made from materials found at the Mill Trail Property! It was important to only use materials that were on the forest floor. The kiddos found fallen pine cones, rocks, fallen pine needles, and more!

After building faerie houses, some of the kids and their families came back up to the cabin where we swept for bugs and found more amphibians lurking around the cabin. We found some interesting bugs at the cabin, including spittlebugs, grasshoppers, and skippers. At one point, I thought one of the visitors caught a Ground Yellowjacket (Vespula spp.), but after uploading a picture of it to iNaturalist, three people identified it as a Falsehorn Fly! iNaturalist is a great resource for identifying new plants and animals. 

Everyone had a great time at the Mill Trail this weekend, and I can’t wait for the next Open House! We will be exploring the West Branch of Little River, so be sure to bring water shoes!

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