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April 20, 2010

Member Highlight: The Nature Conservancy - Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve

Last week I had the opportunity to visit The Nature Conservancy's Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. Heidi Nedreberg, who is the head of the education and outreach programs at the preserve, let me tag along for one of their volunteer training days.

Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve Pavillion
Photo by Nicole Thomas

If you have never been to the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, I highly recommend it. The preserve is located on the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake, in the Layton area, and features over a mile of boardwalks that loop through the wetlands. There is a massive outdoor pavilion with educational signs about the various birds that live on and migrate though the preserve. There is also a look-out tower at the far end of the boardwalk perfect for bird-watching.

On my visit, I got to interact with some of the volunteer naturalists that lead the tours that come to the preserve. Most of these groups are participating in the Wings and Water Program, an award-winning, hands-on wetlands education program designed to meet state science core curriculum standards for 4th grade students. Part of the Wings and Water Program is a visit to the preserve where students can discover the wetlands in a naturalist guided tour.

Bird Migration Signs at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve
Photo by Nicole Thomas

While we were out discussing various techniques of engaging students in different areas along the boardwalk, we also saw many different birds out in the wetlands and marshes. Red winged black birds, a blue heron, mallards, pelicans and several other flocks that I wasn't quick enough to catch their names. We found a garter snake near the supply shed and we even heard several frogs singing as we were packing up to head home.

So if you are looking for a fun place to take your family for a little outdoor discovery, a field trip for your 4th graders, a place to bird-watch and discover the migratory birds that come through the Salt Lake fly-way, or somewhere peaceful to stretch your legs and get outside, come and check out the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve! The preserve is always open, and the new visitor's center is now open every day from 7am - 8pm.  Hope to see you there!

Credits: All photos courtesy and copyright of Nicole Thomas

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