Thanksgiving Activities – outdoors!

Looking for family fun this fall? Ways to bring you all together without risking the pandemic? Well, do we have some ideas for you! Check out this fun list of 10 great activities you and your children can do in the comfort of your own backyard! 

  1. Build a bonfire. 

Now is the perfect time to get the family around a campfire. Whether in your backyard, or renting a fire pit at a local campsite, everyone gains fond memories roasting marshmallows and telling stories around a campfire!

2. Autumn leaves. 

Do you know two things that are beautiful? Fall leaves and fond memories. We are living through a memorable time, why not try to preserve some good memories? You can collect brilliantly colored leaves with your kids and preserve them in wax paper to keep and remember all the good and beautiful things in this world. See how her

3. Feed the birds. 

Birds are beautiful creatures, whether you are scattering seeds on the ground, or building a bird feeder, being kind to wildlife brings joy to kids of all ages. 

4. Read ghost stories by the fire. 

Everyone loves a good story, scary or not, now is the perfect time to huddle up together and share some good old fashion thrills. 

5. Jump in a pile of leaves.

Why not? It’s fun, it’s great, and it costs nothing! -Just be sure to clean yourself after.

6. Throw a scavenger hunt

This one is fun for the whole family. It can be done inside, outside, or both; and be as simple or as complicated as you want! More complicated for older children looking for a challenge, or just simple fun for younger kids.

7. Decorate your porch!

Just because we might not have family over this holiday season doesn’t mean we can’t outwardly celebrate them! Get together with your kids and make some fun DIY decorations to make this holiday season super special! 

8. Camping

Backyard camping is a joy! Make your backyard the site of an adventure. Set up tents, build a small fire, huddle close and tell spooky stories. It also has the added bonus of being right at home, so smaller kids can go back to their own beds if the weather is too cold for them. 

9. Have a Pre-Thanksgiving Picnic

Picnics in summer are great, but there’s something about having one in fall that is underestimated. Gather up some yummy seasonal treats, like apple cider, hot chocolate, jams, pumpkin pie, trail mix, and ham, curl up in some warm blankets and enjoy.

10. Stargazing

Do you know what constellations are up right now? Ever seen a planet with your naked eye? The clear autumn night sky is the perfect place to start learning and teaching your children how to identify planets and stars. See what planets are up tonight here: and for a full list of constellations and celestial bodies visible this November: 

Have a great Fall out there! Stay safe, stay healthy, get as much sunshine as you can!

Outdoor Activities: Franke Park

Outdoor Activities: Franke Park.

As the weather turns and the days get shorter it is more important than ever for us to make getting outside into the fresh air a priority for us and our children, taking care of our physical and mental health. 

Fortunately for us living in the Fort Wayne area, there are many fun safe outdoor spaces throughout our community. Today, Trees Indiana will be showcasing one of our favorite outdoor spaces: Franke Park!

Established in 1921, Franke Park is a familiar landmark of the Fort Wayne area, providing visitors with a host of amenities including the Day Camp, an outdoor theatre, 3 pavilions, a pond, a playground, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, picnic areas, trails, and lots of open space. (site

It is the perfect place to take children for an afternoon in the open air, or just to take a walk or a run through the trails, letting the peace of nature seep into you. 

Speaking of which…

Trees Trail Challenge: 

After much consideration, we are pleased to announce that the 7th Annual 2020 Trees Trail Challenge is now open for registration, with a few key changes this year to accommodate the safety and preferences of our running community during this time of the global pandemic. 

In short, we will be marking the course extra well this year and will offer the choice of running at a day and time of your preference (Oct 31-Nov 1) and reporting your results to us – a sort of “Virtual” race but on an existing well-marked course – or attending a Live In-Person race event (Nov 1) with a start-finish area, non-chip timing, and a field of other runners, with social distancing considerations in place of course. Please visit our website at to learn more about these two options. 

Our registration fee this year is largely donation-based, as fundraising is our sole purpose for this annual event, and this is a very difficult year for non-profits to raise operating funds. If you are unable to participate but support the mission of Trees Indiana, please consider a donation instead.

We hope to see many returning runners participate in the 7th annual Trees Trail Challenge and hope that the running community will be patient and understanding as we navigate the challenges this year has presented to us.  

Find more information, registration, donations, and past event photos at

Author: Nanette Ambrose 

Understanding the Trials of Life through Nature’s Cycles

Understanding the Trials of Life through Nature’s Cycles 

Of all the lessons taught in life, why we must go through necessary trials is one of the hardest lessons to both teach and learn.

Especially recently, it is easy to look around and say: “Is this really necessary?” and “Can we ever recover from this?” The answer to those questions is: Yes. And there is no better teacher than nature to show us how hardships are needed to protect us and make us stronger. 

If you live in the Fort Wayne area, it is likely you are familiar with this:


For those who aren’t, this is Eagle Marsh. Run by The Little River Wetland project, this 831-acres of beautiful wetland preserve is located on the southwest border of Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’s eight miles of trails are a true joy to traverse. Visitors in spring and summer not only enjoy the lush vibrant green wetlands, but also a chance to see the almost 200 types of birds and creatures that call this wetland home. For over a decade Eagle Marsh has been a place where families and friends can go to learn and experience the beauty of Indiana’s native wildlife. (Little River Wetland Project)


But then, one day:

This was the aftermath of a controlled burn done in May 2020. This type of burn is done every 3-4 years, and is needed to combat invasive species and is essential for a healthy native ecosystem. (Cronwell, C)

Looking over this desolate landscape, it is near impossible not to ask: “Is this truly necessary?” and “Can we recover from this?” It is easy to believe that it will never recover but,  slowly, over time: 

The world came back to life.

The world might seem dark and confusing right now, and it can be hard to imagine, and even harder to explain to those of us who have the care of young children that things will ever get better. But we can take a lesson from nature, and see how through preventative measures we will grow back stronger than ever.

Stay safe out there.

Author: Nanette Ambrose


Little River Wetland Project. (2020). VISIT: Eagle Marsh. Retrieved from: 

Cronwell, C. (2013). Holy Smoke! Spring Cleaning At Eagle Marsh. The Waynedale News. Retrieved from: