Mini Trails & Deadfall Activity
Mini Nature Trails
- Plan on dividing your group into teams of four.
- Prepare a set of 10 coloured sticks for each team. Use a
different colour for each set of sticks. A simple way to do this is
to colour popsicle sticks with felt markers or crayons.
- Select a theme for the nature trails that complements other
planned activities. Possibilities include: animal signs,
sensory experiences, plants, litter or a letter of the
Make the Trails
- Divide your group into teams.
- Give each team a set of coloured sticks and tell them the
- Explain the activity. Each team
- Puts one stick in the ground to be the start of their nature
- Looks for something related to the trail theme and marks that
second stop with another stick.
- Continues finding interesting things and marking the location
until all the sticks have been used.
- Puts the next stick no more than ten "giant steps" from
the previous stop.
- Leans each in the direction of the next one.
- Point out the boundaries for the activity.
- Ask the teams to make their nature trails and return to their
start stick when finished.
Explore the Trails
- Have neighbouring teams trade and try to follow each other's
- One person from the team that set the trail should stay to
help, if necessary.
- The new team finds and collects each stick when it is located.
They could record the "exhibit" found at each stick.
- When everyone is finished, gather the teams together.
Discuss the "exhibits" on each trail.
Goals of Activity
- To encourage exploring and discovering.
- To show how a seemingly harmless action by humans can have a
negative effect on the health of an ecosystem.
- Explain the importance of deadfall - branches, bark pieces and
fallen logs lying on the ground.
- Deadfall provides food and shelter to many small organisms,
such as millipedes and beetles.
- These, in turn, are important sources of food for larger
organisms such as shrews and woodpeckers.
- The soft wood also provides ideal growing conditions for moss,
lichens and tree seedlings.
- As the dead wood decomposes, it becomes part of the soil.
It adds valuable nutrients which plants need to grow.
- Have the youth work in small groups to find organisms.
- Advise the youth to put deadfall back if they lift it up to
look underneath. Ask them to explain why this is important.