Saturday, October 28, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 8 - 2017-18 Edition

Throughout the month of October, the nature kindergartners have been collecting leaves and creating our own leaf pile with the understanding that all that collecting would lead to some leaf fun at our fall celebration.

Celebrating our last round of leaf collecting

After our celebration inside, we took to the trail on this chilly day. We went on a tour of the land stopping at various places to with some family guests joining us, we explore and play.

When we got to the rock pile, one group enjoyed the "rock hole" they have been excavating over the last few weeks, while another group explored a rogue plant that appeared to be growing right out of the rick pile Kids were wondering about how it got there and if it would last. They had great questions and ideas while I covertly listened in on their discussion.

Once in the hidden forest, the class discovered some new areas that were exposed with the recent downfall of leaves. A few boys also found a fallen bird feeder and a n old shepherd's crook and ingeniously found a new way to hand the fallen feeder.

Eventually, we made it to the leaf pile. After explaining the choices of "bombard" or "bury", the class decided to bury me with leaves as a way to celebrate their month-long collection.

I'm under there

Peek  a boo

With one project coming to a close, another one was starting. This week, we started our Wants & Needs unit, a unit that will include the creation and placement of mouse houses on the land. At this point, the class has differentiated between wants and needs and started to list what supplies they will be collecting to create their mouse house, They also started sketching what they think their mouse house will look like.

Once the class made a list, shared their list and potentially added to their list, it was time to start collecting. We headed out to the trail and gathered up materials. Lots of innovative ideas were generated and connected to the needs and wants of the mice that we hope inhabit our soon to be created houses.

"This nut will be a water dish."

"Berries are like candy for mice"
It will be fun to start creating our houses and placing them out on the land. I am also looking forward to placing our trail camera put there to catch our guests in action.

Tyke Hike #45 - Lapham Peak - Trick or Treat on the Trail

Tonight, the Tyke Hike program took on a new adventure: a night hike. Though Mother Nature graciously provided just above freezing temperatures, eighteen hikers braved the chill to enjoy the spookiness of the woods at our inaugural Trick or Treat in the Trail.

Before the hikers arrived, I headed out to scout the trail for a few spots to place some sweet treats. While scouting, I came with in about fifteen yards of a decently sized buck. While I engaged in a staredown with him, I noticed another deer spronk away. Then, glancing around, I found myself in the middle of the largest deer herd I have ever seen. Twenty-seven deer. I am sure there were others I didn't even get a chance to count. I placed my last candy dish down and left the deer to their own devices.

Once the kids arrived, we hit the trail fully equipped with headlamps, flashlights, and glow bracelets. The first few candy stops were "freebies." The last two, the hikers had to "earn" their prize. To get the treat, I requested their scariest faces, their most evil laughs, and their best animal howl.

Though the hike was a bit shorter than usual, all seemed to have a nice time hiking and enjoying those treats. Maybe even the deer. When we got to the place where I had seen the herd just an hour or so before, the candy and dish were missing. I guess everyone (and everything) loves candy.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 7 CONTINUED - 2017-18 Edition

With temperatures hovering around seventy degrees, lessons were altered and flexibility was encouraged as nature kindergarten spent a little extra time outdoors.

With beginning and ending sounds and labeling practice essential to our current stage of writing development, we went on a Listen & Look for Life hike at different points of our outdoor classroom, stopping to jot down words and add quick sketches. We stopped at the grass class,

the inside tree,

and the hidden forest.

Seeds hitchhiking

We even added a few "hitchhikers" along the way.

After sharing our finds (caterpillars, leaves, trees, birds, grasshoppers, worms, flowers, etc.), we went to natural play. Many students chose to take a closer look at their findings with the magnifiers from our nature backpacks.

We also added more laves to our ever-growing collection of leaves. This time, we added new leaves from a part of the trail we hadn't collected leaves before. The kids loved the new spot, joyfully commenting on the crunching collection of leaves that blanketed the ground.

Speaking of collection, we had our first visit from one of our favorite friends: Mr. Stokes. He brought an array of his nature collections that we gleefully enjoyed in a wonderfully entertaining and engaging presentation.

Sizing up shells
Baby painted turtle

Russian Tortoise

Snake on a skull

Turtle tower
Bull Snake & Python

It was a wonderful way to end an even more wonderful week of nature. What will this week bring?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 7- 2017-2018 Edition - Retzer Nature Visit #1 - Collections of Nature

The 2017-2018 Woodside/Retzer Nature Center collaboration has begun and Mother Nature must have approved as she provided an absolutely gorgeous day. The day went over smoothly as we explored, collected, and played in nature. Please enjoy the collection of photos from our adventure!

Getting ready with Mrs. Janet

Shaking away the seeds

Investigating a wionter hideout

Empty and full spruce cones

Reaching for colors

Autumn Awesomeness

Hitchhikers - gotta love seed dispersal

The Vista

Checking out Big Bluestem

Cruishing Compass plant leaves

Woolly Bear

Honeybee hive

We're all nuts! (hickory)

Habitat created to attract animals in winter

Emerald Ash Borer. . . .boo!

Larry, Jess, & Peaches

Natural Play with a witch

Tree Prison

Teamwork makes the dream work

A Woodside Thank You

Peaches returns

Collection of nests

Collection of cones

Collection of skulls

Collection of rocks
Collection of composters
Collection of goofballs (and pelts)

Milkweed fluff for all