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Holiday fun and festivities at Bernheim in December

CLERMONT – With the holidays just around the corner, the Bernheim calendar is full of events to celebrate with nature this December. Except for Christmas Day, Bernheim is open the entire month with activities for every age. 

There are several special events at Bernheim this month to help everyone get in the holiday spirit!

Bernheim’s Holiday Open House takes place on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Visitor Center. Enjoy a festive day shopping in the forest. Browse our selection of gifts, locally-made crafts, Kentucky Proud® and Giants merchandise and other unique gifts for the nature lover in your life. Get in the holiday spirit with hot mulled cider and refreshments, hourly door prize drawings, holiday specials, and a 30% discount for Bernheim members. No registration is needed for this event.

Forest Gnome Workshop

Gnomes are known the world over. Legend has it they travel and live in the forest freely, seldom seen by humans. Add some seasonal magic to your home this season by joining us at one of two Forest Gnome Workshops to create this mythical forest character on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9:30 to 11 a.m., or from 1 to 2:30 p.m. while enjoying some hot cider, treats and hot chocolate. Make this a family activity and enjoy building your gnome together. Children 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

The cost is $60 for the workshop, and all instructions and materials for one gnome (tomato cage, forest greens, mop, mittens, hat and accent nose) are included. Gnomes will stand approximately four feet tall, so make sure you have extra room to take your passenger home!

Please bring your own gardening gloves if you would like to wear gloves while working. Reservations are required by  4 p.m. on the day prior to the event. To register, visit Bernheim.org or call (502) 955-8512.

Volunteer Orientation

Volunteers can give a few hours or several hundred hours, providing support to Bernheim and our visitors. Have fun in the great outdoors by participating in a variety of activities. Take the first step in becoming a Bernheim volunteer by attending this general Volunteer Orientation held virtually on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Register at Bernheim.org. 

First Sunday Nature Hike

Meet a Volunteer Naturalist at the Visitor Center on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 3 p.m. for an engaging 45 to 60-minute nature walk. Registration is not required for this free event, and all ages are welcome. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. 

Salamanders and Diversity

Join us for this virtual presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 7 p.m. with Kentucky State University Researcher Jill Fisk with Kentucky State University and Bernheim’s Director of Conservation, Andrew Berry. They will be presenting on the importance of salamanders and the critical habitats in places like Bernheim that sustain them. Salamanders are likely the most abundant group of vertebrates in Bernheim, and a recent study with Kentucky State University documented 218 individuals from 13 species of salamanders. 

Jill Fisk currently works in the Department of Aquaculture at Kentucky State University. Her research focuses on Environmental Science, Aquaculture, and Agricultural Plant Science. Register at Bernheim.org.

ECO Kids Discovery Days

The E-C-O stands for Every Child Outside, and that’s exactly where kids can be found during ECO Kids Discovery Days. Discovery Days take place the first and third Saturday of each month – Dec. 4 and Dec. 18 – near Bernheim’s Visitor Center and may include:

Hands-On Discovery Stations from 1 to 4 p.m.

Hike of the Day led by a Bernheim guide, starts at the Visitor Center at 2 p.m. and runs 45-60 minutes.

Pop-Up Story Circles because everything and everyone has a story. Watch for our storytelling and story-sharing circles near Spirit Nest.

Masks and social distancing are required when interacting with the Volunteer Naturalists. For details on ECO Kids Discovery Days, call (502) 955-8512 or visit Bernheim.org.

Forest Homeschool Hike: Survival Strategies

Bernheim takes school to the forest on Friday, Dec. 10, from 1 – 2 p.m. On this hike, families and co-ops join educators for an afternoon of learning, exercising and adventure. Appropriate for grades K-5, each month’s Forest Homeschool Hike includes a short lesson followed by a hike that brings the lesson to life. December’s theme is Survival Strategies because animals must migrate, hibernate or stay active to survive cold weather. 

The cost for Bernheim members is $5 per student. There is no fee for adults, but they must accompany children. Registration is required by 4 p.m. the day prior to the program. Call (502) 955-8512 or visit Bernheim.org. Space is limited.

Recolor the Outdoors: Understanding the Historical Connection Between Blacks and the Outdoors

Join Dr. Corliss Outley with Clemson University and Claude Stephens, Director of Bernheim’s Children at Play Network initiative on Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 6 to 7 p.m.  They will discuss trends in the U.S. over the last 50 years that have led to an apparent significant decline in time children spend in free play outdoors and an even greater decline in time spent at free play in “wild areas” such as woods, deserts, grasslands and other natural or semi-natural landscapes.

This decline is even greater for Black children, yet there is very little understanding of the factors that have led to this decline. As Professor and Director of REYSE (Race, Ethnicity, Youth & Social Equity) Collaboratory at Clemson University, Dr. Outley’s research examines positive youth development outcomes during the out-of-school time hours, particularly focusing on racial/ethnic identity and cultural behaviors, health disparities, social justice and built and physical environmental influences. She considers herself a “community-engaged scholar” who focuses on improving sociopolitical systems and environments to reduce inequalities by applying strengths-based empowerment approaches to youth engagement. Register for this virtual program at Bernheim.org

Reminder: Bernheim Closed for Holiday

Please note that Bernheim will be closed on Monday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday, and closed on Jan. 1, New Year’s Day, and will close at 2 p.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

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