Review: Nature Classes at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bridge Tree at Moose Hill

What: Nature Classes
Instructor: Patti Austin
Where: Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Sharon Massachusetts
When: Mornings, 10-11:30 a.m. or Afternoons, 1-2:30 p.m. Topics vary week to week, check the program schedule for specific dates and classes.
Age Range: Children, ages 4-6 yrs
Per Class Fee: $8 per child (members)/$11 per child (non-members)

One of my better parenting ideas this fall was to sign my daughter up for a few nature classes at the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The classes last an hour and half and include a craft, a story, and a nature hike.

This last part is The Four-Year-Old’s favorite bit, as it gives her a chance to visit her favorite trees. She’s particularly fond of the Puddle Tree (a tree with a puddle in it), which is not to be confused with the Gate Tree (a fallen tree that explorers of a certain age can walk through like a gate into the forest).

She loves those trees so much that the last time we were at Moose Hill, she took me on a tour of the forest just to show them to me. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the Puddle or Gate Trees she visits every week with Miss Patti, but we did find the Bridge Tree (a tree that extends a branch over the path like a bridge).

I must confess to being rather partial to the nature walk part of the class myself, and not just because it’s so much fun to take one of The Four-Year-Old’s tours afterwards. I will never forget the day The Four-Year-Old climbed into the car one day in October, super excited about having found a salamander in the woods. “Mommyo, I didn’t even know salamanders existed!”

That’s $8 exceptionally well-spent.

I also like that the hikes occur rain, snow, or shine, teaching my daughter that nature is a place you can visit in all kinds of weather–something it’s all too easy for me to forget. And it’s working. When I considered calling off a recent walk because it had started to rain, The Four-Year-Old reminded me that “that’s what raincoats are for.” Like being in the snow in winter, enjoying your time out in the rain is mostly a matter of having the right equipment.

Classes are kids only, which means parents have an hour and half to putter around the sanctuary themselves. With 25 miles of nature trails to explore, picnic tables and benches scattered around the property, and free Wi-Fi and comfy chairs back at the Lodge, the hours we spend at Moose Hill are some of my favorite time in the week.

Lucky for me, going to Moose Hill is one of the highlights of The Four-Year-Old’s week as well.

Note: Registration is required. For more information, contact:

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary
293 Moose Hill Street
Sharon, MA 02067
(781) 784-5691

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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