Under gathering storm clouds, five young hikers and their parents set out on a moderate trail in Round Canyon earlier this week to observe first-hand the effects of precipitation on the local ecosystem.
In the first Sounds of the Season hike, a new free program suitable for children ages 3 to 6, Irvine Ranch Conservancy docents led a group of about 10 on a 1-mile, round-trip nature walk that included educational and interactive activities.
"The program is intended to help children connect with the outdoors and to provide an opportunity to wiggle like the animals and grow like the plants," said Kelly Reetz, conservancy interpretive specialist. "It's a free opportunity for families to explore nature in a safe setting."
Participants observed the effects of water erosion on the mile-loop of Round Canyon, the audible cries of redtail hawks circling overhead and even analyzed — much to the delight of the young hikers — the "scat," or droppings, left behind by native wildlife.