Friday, June 2, 2017

Timberwolf Trail - Week 33 - 2016-17 Edition - Retzer Nature Visit #8 - Nature Celebration

It was bittersweet to end our yearlong collaboration with the Retzer Nature Center. We have had a blast meeting new friends,learning new things, and completing new activities. However, we couldn't have asked for a better day to wrap up this year's programming. 

Before heading out for a hike led by the students, or newly christened "kid naturalists," we reviewed the events of our year together with a slideshow and some conversations.

Our hike started off with a visit to the pond. We enjoyed testing our net skills again and caught many different creatures. From frogs to dragonfly nymphs with a special visit from a snapping turtle, we certainly discovered the life of a pond.

Then, it was off to the vista for a splendid view of the aftermath of the last Ice Age.  Along the way, we searched for newly dropped fawns and saw the green growth that has sprouted since our last visit, fresh off a prairie burn.

As we left the vista, we learned more about invasive species, including the pretty but pesky Dame's Rocket. Of course, with my class being invasive experts and active pullers of garlic mustard, I wasn't surprised to see them pull this purple invasive in out hike through the woods.

We also found tons of snail-covered skunk cabbage plants, wildflowers, and of course stumps, perfect for stump jumping.

We then met up with Mr. Larry to do some insect sweeping. Though being pretty exhausted from a lengthy and active hike, we were able to capture some critters before heading to lunch.

Once inside, we took a look at the "year in review" tables set up around the meeting space, full of activities and learning tools utilized in our programs throughout the year.

We also had to enjoy the nature center's animal and artifact displays.

Last but not least, it was time for natural play. Whether climbing trees, making forts, trail running, or playing games of their own certain, this is a great opportunity to see kids be kids and just connect with nature in an innocent and spectacular way.

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