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Nature scavenger hunt in Lloyd Harbor thrills youngsters

Twins Annemie, left, and Maeve Germans, 8, of

Twins Annemie, left, and Maeve Germans, 8, of Bayville, and Isabella Underwood, 9, of Lloyd Harbor, look over a checklist for a nature scavenger hunt Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Harbor. Credit: Barry Sloan

With sneakers laced up and sunscreen slathered on, more than a dozen children fanned out Saturday on a Long Island park’s winding trails.

The nature scavenger hunt was on.

The children and their families searched for bugs, leaves, plants and animals at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Harbor.

Armed with little clipboards, the young hunters set off at about 10:30 a.m. Each had a color printout with about a dozen natural wonders to find.

Maeve and Annemie Germans, 8-year-old twins from Bayville, wore matching khaki bucket hats as they showed off their checklists, which included butterflies, ferns, poison ivy, mushrooms and cicada calls.

The girls were among the first to join the chorus of excited voices when the group spotted the first treasure — a bird swooping low over the protected fields.

Jacques Germans, the twins’ father, said the family went on a beachfront nature hunt a few weeks ago. “They went in the water and looked for life, and we think we saw a whale,” he said.

Mark Ingram, 8, of Huntington, said he was excited to be on the hunt. His mother, Grace, said he’s a big fan of “Wild Kratts,” an animated PBS show about two brothers who go on adventures and rescue animals.

“We do ones just in our neighborhood,” Ingram said of nature hunts. “He is all about animals.”

Mark jumped at the chance to share what he’s learned about land conservation, holding his hand high until park employee and hunt organizer Melissa Spolar called on him.

“I know! Animals like deer and horses need the land to eat and roam,” he said.

As the hunters began to head back to the parking lot, everyone had notched at least a few checkmarks.

Rich Sandborn, 9, and his great-aunt Ann La Carrubba of Northport were still out looking for bonus points. They already had earned prizes of pencils and stickers.

“I still need a squirrel,” Rich said, a short distance from the trail’s end.

“I’m getting to show him all the things I did with my kids,” La Carrubba said. “And it’s not a bad walk.”

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