Keefauver Farm hikers learn how animals survive during winter

Elizabeth Hecht and her boys Colin and Harrison listen to Deegan along with Rachel Farmer and her kids Jack and Roxie. PHOTOS BY DAVE ONGIE

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

When winter rolls around, a lot of folks put up their hiking boots and wait for spring. But not Connie Deegan. Deegan, the nature program director for the City of Johnson City, said winter is one of her favorite times to get out and hike.

“I just have no problem at all with winter,” she said last Thursday as she prepared to lead a group of folks on a nature hike in the woods behind Keefauver Farm. “As a matter of fact, I hike more in the winter than in the summer.

“If you can get people to put in the first five minutes, they’re going to forget about being cold, and they’re going to love it.”

Johnson City nature program director Connie Deegan talks about
techniques animals use to survive in the woods during the winter.

The group on Thursday included a lot of energetic youngsters and parents who learned a great deal about the survival strategies of different animals during a hike along the tree-lined ridge behind Keefauver Farm. A walk through the meadow en route to the trees brought the group face-to-face with their first animal encounter of the day in the form of bulls grazing just across a barbed-wire fence.

Once in the woods, Deegan taught the group many different things about the vegetation and landscape in the wintertime and how animals adjusted to the changes in the season. Despite the snow on the ground, Deegan was proven correct as the group shuffled enthusiastically up the trail and left the cold of winter behind.

Two girls send their regards to a bull grazing on the other side of the fence as they make their way to the tree line behind Keefauver Farm.
Bowen Feaster with a squirrel nest.

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