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updated: 1/16/2014 7:49 PM

'Snow scientists' study at St. Charles forest preserve

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  • John Olgan, 7, of Warrenville, breaks through a hard crust of snow, a type of snow students learned about Thursday during the program, "Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow" led by Kane County Forest Preserve naturalist Josh Libman at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.

       John Olgan, 7, of Warrenville, breaks through a hard crust of snow, a type of snow students learned about Thursday during the program, "Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow" led by Kane County Forest Preserve naturalist Josh Libman at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kathleen Seckel, 5, of St. Charles and her brother, Joe, 7, use a ruler to measure a 5-inch snowdrift during the Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow program Thursday in St. Charles. The siblings just started home schooling last week and this was their first time attending one of the programs offered by the forest preserve district.

       Kathleen Seckel, 5, of St. Charles and her brother, Joe, 7, use a ruler to measure a 5-inch snowdrift during the Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow program Thursday in St. Charles. The siblings just started home schooling last week and this was their first time attending one of the programs offered by the forest preserve district.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County Forest Preserve naturalist Josh Libman leads students and parents on a trail Thursday at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles during the Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow program.

       Kane County Forest Preserve naturalist Josh Libman leads students and parents on a trail Thursday at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles during the Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow program.
    Photos by Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Just because you're home-schooled doesn't mean you can't attend field trips.

Area home-schoolers got the chance to do that Thursday during the Homeschool Explorations: The Science of Snow program at Creek Bend Nature Center in the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.

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The enthusiastic group learned the basic science of how snowflakes are formed and the conditions needed for that to happen, along with specific snow terminology. Then the 25 children and parents donned their winter duds and headed onto trails to explore the unique ice crystals firsthand. As they set foot upon a white trail, a shower of new snowflakes started to fall as if on cue.

Naturalist Josh Libman took advantage of the occurrence, describing the type of snow falling was called a flurry. The "snow scientists," as Libman dubbed them, then took temperature measurements of the snow, getting readings that it was indeed cold enough for snow to occur. (The temperature required for snowfall is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.)

After learning what a snowdrift was, the students took turns measuring drifts with a ruler. "Eight inches! Woo hoo!" exclaimed John Ogan, 7, of Warrenville, as he stuck the wooden ruler deep into the drift.

In addition to the science of snow, students learned how trees and animals adapt to survive winters such as changing their diets, growing a thicker coat, and choosing either to hibernate or migrate south.

Ann Seckel of St. Charles, who just last week started home schooling her two children, Joe, 7, and Kathleen, 5, said she really liked the program.

"They covered a lot, they learned a lot, they let them ask a lot of questions," she said.

The home schooling program is offered monthly and registration is required. The cost is $2 per person and $8 per family of four or more. To register, call (630) 444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com. For more info on all programs, visit kaneforest.com.

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