Winterfest comes to Hills Creek State Park every year, but the organizers still shake things up.
Winterfest featured both new and revived activities and exhibits. Bluebird his box building by the Tiadaghton Audubon Society and pine cone bird feeder building by DCNR volunteers were revived activities.
A surprising success at Winterfest was the display and tasting of Wild Winter Tea by DCNR Educator Susan Schenk. People of all ages gathered around Schenck’s table to listen as she explained how tea is made, the best time to pick the ingredients, the taste of tea and its health benefits.
“If you’re stuck in the wilderness, drink sumac tea,” explains Schenck. “If we could only hunt animals for food, we would get a lot of the nutrients we lack.”
The children helped Schenk brew the tea and poured it into the other participants’ cups. Most of the teas were unfamiliar and unsweetened, but most participants enjoyed them and left the exhibit with plans to find and make their own teas.
Another new exhibit was the interdisciplinary activity of the Pa.Lumber Museum. Timber Museum educator Jennifer Haynes demonstrated how to use a cross saw with children ages 8 and up. Haynes started by sawing back and forth with the boy, eventually giving her position to a girl.The two children decided to cut pieces of wood from a log. explained the day
“Can you imagine doing this all day?” Haynes asked.
“No!” replied the boy and girl, repeating the saw back and forth.
At Winterfest, the newly formed Wilds Astronomy Club of Pennsylvania was established, and a special telescope was installed to allow safe viewing of the Sun. Although the sky was overcast, we were able to demonstrate special telescopes and binoculars for viewing distant objects, and the children in attendance flocked to the equipment.