Yuri’s Night: Fun with STEAM Skills for Kids!

Are you looking for a fun family time that will also teach your kids skills they need? Katie Julsrud, Director of Education and Outreach with the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, says, “STEAM is the acronym we use at the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. The Arts (music, drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, etc) use many of those original STEM skills. That is, you need measurement and fractions to make patterns for sewing, you need chemistry to make correct ratios for sculpting material, and so on. STEAM skills are considered twenty-first-century skills and are important for learners of all ages to use to understand evolving technologies and to keep pace with new advancements in society.”

The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire and Beaver Creek Reserve are partnering to offer Yuri’s Night, a local offering of the Yuri’s Night events held all over the world during the month of April to promote and facilitate “global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.”

The local event will be held at Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, on April 12 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Preregistration is required. Activities will be held at Hobbs and the Main Lodge on the North Campus (opposite side from the Wise Nature Center). The event is FREE for members of BOTH the Children’s Museum and Beaver Creek Reserve. There is a $3.00 fee for Beaver Creek Reserve Members and $5.00 charge for nonmembers. Registration information and a full description of events can be found at beavercreekreserve.org/events. This event requires parents to attend with their children—no childcare is provided.

Foxes of Wisconsin

Photo by Ruth Forsgren – Gray fox kits at den near youth camp driveway

Article by Jim Schwiebert, Beaver Creek Reserve Naturalist

Wisconsin is home to two members of the fox family: the red fox and the gray fox. Both types of foxes are about the same size. Gray fox average 10 pounds and are between 32 and 45 inches long. The gray fox is a mix of gray, red, white, and black fur. The hairs along the middle of the back and tail are tipped in black. Sometimes if a gray has a lot of red fur it can be mistaken for a red fox. But, gray fox never have black feet like red fox do, and they also have a black tip to the tail instead a white tip like the red fox.

Gray foxes are not usually seen as often as red fox. Gray fox live in older, thick-forested areas, often near streams and rivers. Red fox are more often found on edges of fields, where they are more visible. Gray fox are more nocturnal (active at night) than red fox. Gray fox make dens from a hollowed tree, rock crevice, or brush pile. They eat a variety of foods including rabbits, mice, vole, chipmunk, eggs, insects, and fruit.

Gray fox are the only fox that can climb trees. They have semi-retractable claws, which means that they can pull their claws partway in somewhat like a cat. The gray fox climb trees to get away from predators like coyotes, to look for food, and sometimes to sleep. Gray fox are also good swimmers.
Gray fox usually have four to five pups that are born in the den in late March or April. The pups are blind at birth and have brown fur. Both mom and dad help with raising the pups.

If you are snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the woods this winter, you may be lucky enough to see one of our state’s two members of the fox family, or some of their tracks