Summer in northern Michigan is nothing short of magic, and no one knows that better than Little Traverse Conservancy education director Alison Berry.  Berry spends her days romping through Northern Michigan forests, bogs, fields, and beaches with knee-high and junior naturalists. Berry has great ideas for not only getting kids outdoors, but also having them discover the enchantment that awaits.  She recently shared one of her favorite family activities with MyNorth: making fairy houses.

“Fairy houses are a great way to spend creative time outdoors as a family.  They are fun for all ages—including parents—although for older boys it may be more enticing to refer to it as building troll or gnome houses,” Berry said with a laugh.

To start, Berry suggests picking up a book like Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane (local book sellers are happy to look up books about the inch-and-under population, including titles like Children of the Forest and Peter in Blueberry Land).

“Collect as many twigs, leaves, grass, dandelions, stones/pebbles and other natural materials within reach and get started.  The best way to build is against the base of a tree, a downed log, or under a small bush.  They can be done free standing, but part of the fun is venturing into the woods to find a cozy spot to get started,” Berry said.

Looking for more fun and imaginative ways to get into nature this season?  From  a “Ponderific” class to nature photography and bug hikes to geo-caching, Little Traverse Conservancy offers free naturalist programs for kids of all ages. Visit for a full schedule or call Allison at 231-344-1010.

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