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October at Marine Park Salt Marsh

October is the month we begin our trips to Marine Park Salt Marsh for Shore School. On our first visit we met with the Urban Park Rangers for an introduction to life at the salt marsh. Outside the Nature Center we noticed the variety of sea birds perched on the old pilings and swimming near the shore. There were gulls, ducks, cormorants, and even a snowy egret. Using a piece of cardboard with a square opening as a view finder, kids focused on a scene and drew pictures of what was inside their frame. 
Next, our ranger guides led us on a walk through the tall grasses where we spotted bird nests and got a close-up view of a praying mantis sunning itself on a leaf. As we wound our way down to the shore, the rangers pointed out the different plants, some with berries ripe for birds, and explained how the salt marsh is a natural barrier that protects the inland from storms and flooding. 
Once at the water's edge, the rangers laid out a large tarp and invited kids to comb the shore for …

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