The Grange Insurance Audubon Center will ring in spring with a party for youngsters.
The vernal equinox celebration is slated 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the center, 505 W. Whittier St. near Columbus' Brewery District.
The actual spring equinox is March 20 this year. It can fall on any of three dates from March 19 to 21, depending on the year.
Chrissie Wilson, an educator at the center, said the event will include games, arts and crafts, hikes, a scavenger hunt, a storytime and snacks.
Admission is free, but registration is necessary, Wilson said. Parents and guardians can send an email to Allison Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goal is to reach children in pre-K through first grade, Wilson said, "so they can get connected to the Audubon (Center) early on and grow with us."
"This program is kind of fun and playful," she said.
Such celebrations can spark enthusiasm for other events held at the center, which is part of a larger nature preserve on the Whittier Peninsula that includes Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
"I always look forward to these programs," Wilson said. "I look forward to seeing all the young faces. I look to see the same faces -- and the new faces."
Bird-related education will be part of the activities in honor of John James Audubon, a naturalist and ornithologist whose efforts led to the establishment of the National Audubon Society.
"One of his missions was to bring nature into homes," Wilson said. "So he would go out and sketch, draw and paint birds in their natural habitat."
Outreach to youngsters is paramount for the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, she said.
Educators from the center visit 49 third- and fourth-grade classes every year in the Columbus City Schools district. In turn, those classes visit the center three times a year.
"We consider ourselves an extension of the science classroom," Wilson said.
Michael Goldman, conservation and outreach manager for the Audubon Center, will perform nature-related acoustic ditties at the equinox party.
Playing music is fun and the children enjoy it, Goldman said.
"Studies show children respond very positively to repetitive music and it helps them remember things," he said.