If we’re freezing, how are the critters warm?


If you’re like many of us, you might be tired of winter’s chill and bundle up to keep it out. Somehow, the critters in the Russell Forest seem unaffected, yet they wear the same “clothes” year round. How in the heck do they stay warm? Well, this month you can find out as Naturalist Marianne Hudson explores exactly that.

Wildlife Presentations

The Naturalist Cabin at Russell Crossroads
Saturday, February 18 – 8-11am
Saturday, February 25 – 7am-1pm during the Russell Forest Run*

As Marianne likes to say, “It’s Febrrrrruary.” Put on your layers and stop by the Naturalist’s Cabin to see and touch the fluffy furs that keep Russell Forest residents warm and dry this time of year. For centuries, man has admired and adorned himself with the coats of other creatures. You will see that the functionality of these animal coverings is matched by their beauty. In addition to animal pelts, other outer coverings such as feathers and skins will be on hand for comparison. Each garment will be examined and explained by our Naturalist and passed around for up-close study. Display is appropriate for all ages – stop by and learn! Come anytime between the hours listed. No charge – everyone is welcome!

*A forest critter will accompany Naturalist Marianne Hudson at the start of Russell Forest Run events on February 25.   

Guided Nature Tour

Willow Point Trailhead
Saturday, February 18 – 12pm

Join Russell Lands On Lake Martin Naturalist Marianne Hudson for an educational foray into our winter forest. The lifestyles of some Russell Forest residents change pace in the winter, but signs of life are everywhere. Find out which denizens are dormant and which are dynamic; cold weather won’t slow us down!  We will search for signs of increasing activity while the sun is high in the sky and the day warms. We will especially be searching for signs of White-tailed Deer activity. This energetic hike is the perfect way to kick-start your standard New Year’s resolutions of exercising and appreciating the beauty that surrounds you.  Appropriate for warmly dressed participants ages 5 – 105.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED! There is a $10 fee for this program. Please contact our Naturalist at 256-496-2710 to inquire and to register in advance.

For all Guided Nature Tours: It is recommended that participants have a moderate fitness level and are able to stand or walk for at least two hours. Walking pace will be relaxed with frequent stops. Comfortable, seasonally appropriate clothing and shoes are advised. Participants may also wish to bring bottled water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Binoculars and cameras are welcome. There are no bathrooms on the Forest Trails.

If you have questions for Marianne, contact her at 256.496.2710 or

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