Kids’ Almanac (July 18-25)

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.”
– H. Jackson Browne


What’s in your backpack?

I’m excited to share with you some new supplies that I’ve added to my backpack for day hikes and camping. First, I am a convert to Wright Naturals Bug Stuff, a locally produced herbal insect repellant in Tillson, which is incredibly effective and smells terrific! For starters, it’s a spray bottle, which makes it so easy to apply. I can effortlessly spray my clothes and my hat (remember that hat I mentioned last month?) and myself. It feels so healing on my skin when I spray it, because of the almond oil base; and the other oils – eucalyptus, lemon eucalyptus and pennyroyal – make it an effective bug spray. I even wear Bug Stuff when I go out with my husband because I’m not self-conscious about smelling like citronella, so I find myself willing to wear it more often, which helps prevent bug bites.

Bug Stuff contains no DEET, petroleum products or parabens. Bug Stuff is available locally at Cabin Fever Outfitters in Rhinebeck; Dedrick’s Pharmacy & Gifts in New Paltz; Overlook Mountain Bikes in Woodstock; Sugar Sweet Baby in Kingston; and Victoria Gardens in Rosendale. For more information, visit or find it on Facebook at

I recently ordered an O’Tom Tick Twister set after seeing how effective it was on my son. I had tried to remove a tiny tick from my son during a Wild Earth overnight, and couldn’t get a grip on it until I used the small twister in the Wild Earth first-aid kit. Perfect! This was the easiest and best tick remover that I’ve ever used. As soon as I got home, I ordered two sets: one for my first aid kit at home, and one for the car, so I always have it with me.

I asked some local explorers what’s in their backpacks when they go for day hikes in the Hudson Valley. They all mentioned the importance of bringing a flashlight or a headlamp; a first aid kit; water; a map; matches; and a charged phone (or backup battery) with emergency numbers. Here are some of their other recommendations.

Ann Guenther, naturalist, recommends taking time to “stop, kneel down and look at bugs, rocks et cetera. Let each kid choose a place to stop (It’s always a good place!) and explore the tiny world. Choose a time when it looks like kids are getting tired.”

Sit-Upon: “I found that the lightweight thin foam pad, one-foot squares are perfect. I have bright yellow so they don’t get lost. Each kid chooses where to put his/her pad for special times for observing, drawing et cetera, or sitting in a circle if there are more kids,” advises Guenther.

Plastic hand lens or magnifier: Tie it on a string so it’s easy to keep track of, and let the kids discover the world in a whole new way.

Yarn: Guenther shared, “Sometimes a couple of three-foot pieces of white string or colored yarn can form magic circles on the ground, one for each kid, for exploring inside. Boundaries help.”

Strainer/containers/spoons/nets: Guenther lists these as helpful critter-catching supplies for examining lifeforms by streams and ponds.

Melissa Curtis, Girl Scout Leader and parent, recommends the versatile bandana: Melissa Curtis, Girl Scout Leader and parent, recommends the versatile bandana: It’s great to pack two bandanas. “They don’t take up much space, but have more than 100 uses. It can be used as a sling or wrap around an injury, rip into strips for marking a trail, head wrap, wrap around neck to prevent sunburn and can wet it to cool you down, clean your face…”

Child’s Backpack: Curtis listed some ideas for kids to carry themselves that would be useful yet lightweight. “It would contain an apple, sandwich, two bottles of water, sun-protective lip balm, a small flashlight, a whistle (for emergencies, hanging on string around neck), breakfast bar and other quick and easy-to-eat items; also an extra pair of socks, a hat and sunglasses, along with a pair of knitted gloves (like at the Dollar Store). The potential to fall or slip into water or a stream is likely, and to prevent cold and blisters, you need to change your socks. Sneakers or hiking footwear are a must.”



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  1. Kids’ Almanac (July 18-25) - Almanac Weekly | Rhinebeck Senior High School
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