A small group of hikers gathered around an ant hill Sunday on the side of Coal Creek Trail in Lafayette to observe a colony of western harvester ants preparing their nest for the summertime weather.

Martin Ogle, education coordinator for Lafayette Open Space,said that while the worker ants only live for a couple of months, the queen harvester ant can live to be up to 40 years.

The queen ant, however, wasn’t the only matriarch on the trail this day. Approximately 10 mothers, along with their families, were treated to a special nature walk in celebration of Mother’s Day by the City of Lafayette.

While walking beneath the cottonwoods, crack willows and peach leaf willows that line the creek, the group learned about the natural history of the trail, the types of flora and fauna that can be found in the area, local Native American lore and early coal mining legends.

Martin Ogle, left, demonstrates how to make a rope out of hemp found by the creekside with the assistance of Dot Pisha’s hiking poles. (Ella Cobb / Staff Writer)

Lafayette resident Brendan O’Brien accompanied his mom, Becky O’Brien, and his grandmother, Lorrie Tischler, on the nature walk.

Brendan O’Brien said that he and his mom, who he describes as “caring, loving and supportive,” like to hike together.

“Coal Creek is definitely the best place to do that in Lafayette, in my opinion,” he said.

“This is our first time doing a guided walk,” Becky O’Brien said. “It’s so cool to learn all of these things about this area.”

Ogle, who is a naturalist and author, has been leading the Mother’s Day nature walk for nearly a decade. Ogle set the tone for the walk by reading “My North Star,” a poem by Anthony Avina.

“Through gnarled branches and scarred trees, past the edges of the growing forest and raging wind, I see your light shining against the breeze, My North Star,” Ogle read.

Ogle said he was going to share the poem with his own mother when he saw her later in the day.

From left to right: Lorrie Tischler, Becky O'Brien, and Brendan O'Brien -- three generations in one photo -- during Sunday's guided Mother's Day nature walk. (Ella Cobb / Staff Writer)
From left, Lorrie Tischler, Becky O’Brien and Brendan O’Brien — three generations — pose for a photo during Sunday’s guided Mother’s Day nature walk. (Ella Cobb / Staff Writer)

When reflecting on her own mother, Becky O’Brien said that her mom has always been there to set an example.

“The best thing about my mom has been her teaching me and modeling for me the importance of family,” Becky O’Brien said.

“My grandmother always says to me that seeing how close our family is makes her so happy. But not all families are like that. There are some families that never see each other or are estranged, and that’s so sad,” Becky O’Brien added.


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Ella Cobb
2022-05-09 01:39:11
Boulder Daily Camera

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