Adventure Guide: A Walk On The Wildside
The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter has restarted its guided nature hikes.
After closing these outdoor excursions due to COVID-19 concerns, Utah State University, which operates the ecological nonprofit, has give a green light for Swaner “naturalists” to lead small groups of up to nine people on four different tours offered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
The tours, which last between one and two hours, explore wetland science, local plant and animal species, and the 1,200-acre preserve’s history. They are open to adventurers of all ages — though children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult — and can be tailored to the needs of the groups.
Face coverings are required by staff and participants. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the tour, and all tools, such as binoculars or magnifying glasses, will be sanitized before and after each use. Restrooms are not available onsite.
The four offerings are as follows:
Wetland Discover Trail Excursion
The Wetland Discovery Trail is an established path that follows a historic spur line of the Utah Railroad. Participants will explore and learn about the history and relationship be- tween humans and the wetlands. Groups will listen for birds and animals hiding in the willows
and identify prehistoric plants.
Wetland Pond Excursion
Ponds are scattered throughout the preserve, and are only accessible with a guide. Groups will look for tiger salamanders, watch for birds and learn about pond plants. This excursion may be a challenge for senior citizens and young children since groups will maneuver through tall grass, uneven terrain and wet ground.
Kimball Creek Excursion
Kimball Creek is only one of the many streams found on the preserve. Groups will learn about the stream’s place in the local watershed, as well as restoration projects and the wildlife they attract. Like the Wetland Pond Excursion, the uneven terrain and wet ground may prove challenging to seniors and young children.
Preserve Boundary Excursion
During this tour, groups take a fully accessible paved path that surrounds the south side of the preserve, and use binoculars to locate birds and wildlife, as well as taking in the view from the Swaner EcoCenter’s kiosk.
Request forms are available by visiting swanerecocenter.org. Once the form is submitted, the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter staff will reply within two to three business days for confirmation, to collect payment and to answer any questions. The tours cost $15 per person but are half off for Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter members and free for children ages 5 and younger.
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