Felix Neck offers ‘explore packs’ for fun outdoor learning


Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is offering opportunities for fun experiential learning for the whole family with its “explore packs,” available for purchase at the gift shop.

With the support of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ Driving the Future Fund, these kits encourage kids and families to get outside and explore the natural world.

Offered on a sliding scale from $10 to $30, the explore packs contain various tools and materials, each oriented toward a different theme, such as birding 101 or insect identification.

The birding kit contains things like binoculars, crayons, and a color identification activity, while the insects kit includes a magnifying glass and a journal for kids to record their observations.

Felix Neck naturalist and education coordinator Liz Dengenis said the idea began when the pandemic hit, and the sanctuary was looking for creative ways to encourage families to spend time together outdoors and educate kids with a more hands-on approach that might be impossible to achieve with COVID health restrictions in schools.

For Dengenis, the most essential part of each pack is the companion guide, which acts as a lesson plan for parents who want to bring outdoor experiential learning to their children.

The companion guide contains activities and directions on what tools are used for different functions, along with useful questions for parents to ask their kids to spark their curiosity.

“Outside, there is learning at every turn of the corner. Kids especially have that natural inclination to get outside and get dirty, so it’s really important that those kinds of adventures are encouraged,” Dengenis said.

Explore packs on sale now include birding 101 and insects, with a seashore-focused kit coming soon. The Felix Neck shop is open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.