The summer sun is heating up here in Liberty, but don’t let that stop you from exploring Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary. In fact, summer can be the perfect time to get out of the city and spend some refreshing time in nature. Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary
(MLTNS, or Martha Lafite for short) is located on the east side of Liberty.
Rush Creek flows through the 100 acres of forest and restored prairie, and there are several miles of paved and grassy trails. An early morning hike on these trails is a great time to look for many species of birds that you won’t encounter in more populated areas, like indigo bunting, summer tanager, oriole, hermit thrush and bluebirds.
Native wildflowers and pollinating insects are in abundance on the trail through the tallgrass prairie restoration, and hummingbirds can usually be seen in the Master Gardener’s butterfly and bird garden just outside the nature center.
Few can resist dipping their feet in the calm waters of Rush Creek as they look for frogs, little minnows and water striders skittering on the surface. You might also see if you can find my favorite spot at MLTNS, a little babbling brook at the start of Bluff Trail.
If it’s starting to heat up, there’s much more to see and do inside the Nature Center. Kids especially will enjoy exploring the touch table, watching the turtles swim, looking eye to eye with several slithery snakes (housed safely behind glass), and chatting with Carmel, the resident rabbit!
Much of the summer at MLTNS is dedicated to week-long summer camps for kids age 3-14, but there are still several programs to get in on if you’re in Liberty for a short time.
- If it’s a Saturday, plan to attend a one-hour Story Time at 1:30 p.m.
- If it’s a second Saturday of the month, you’ll be amazed to watch the Northland Wood Carvers at work from 10 am – 3 pm.
- On the second and fourth Saturdays at 3 pm, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to help feed the animals in the nature center.
And Thursday evenings you can join the Hiking Group. For a full list of scheduled events this summer, click on the Event Calendar on the MLTNS website
Martha Lafite is definitely a spot you won’t want to miss on your visit to Liberty. The trails are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the nature center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no fee for entry, but a $5 per vehicle donation is requested. MLTNS is a non-profit organization that receives no governmental funding, so individual donations are greatly appreciated. Also, pets are not allowed on the premises, so you’ll have to leave your sweet puppy elsewhere. I hope you’ll take some time this summer to explore this unique site and connect with nature at Martha Lafite!
Contributed by: Anne Nickel, MLTNS Board President