Every day is a new opportunity in nature kindergarten. In some free exploration time, students were toad searching when they came upon some morels. Needless to say, this opened up lots of discussion, sharing, and learning.
This week, we also held our final collaboration celebration. To wrap up a year of service to nature, we met at a local county park and pulled garlic mustard. We has some fun too!
In fact, in these past few months of the year, this class has worked on two engaging citizen science projects. In our involvement with the Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin's Great Wisconsin Birdathon, the class successfully birded a variety of times and saw and hears hundreds of birds. In fact, we were able to use our bird knowledge to correctly identify 28 birds so far, though the daily visits from our turkey vultures still seem to be the most popular.
Additionally, our participation in the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium's Garlic Mustard Pullathon has also been very successful. With a week left in the school year, we have pulled over 230 pounds of garlic mustard in our schools outdoor classroom and anywhere else the students choose to pull.
This week also brought us our final visit with our Retzer Nature Center friends. We traveled to the nature center and celebrated a year together by enjoying a slideshow of photos from the year and allowing our student naturalists to lead hikes and activities throughout the land.
We reviewed plants and prairies at the vista.
visited and -re-visited some of our favorite animal friends.
We went insect sweeping.
Some insects even caught us. :)
We went to the pond.
We also enjoyed lots of nature's surprises along the way and had a great day with some awesome people.
We also had some exciting nature back at school. On some of our milkweed plants, we found our first set of monarch caterpillars.
The class also felt the urge for natural play, but they ended up doing more insect sweeping and enjoying some log lounging to end our week together.
Last but not least, we have some exciting news. With a generous grant and support from the Hamilton Education Foundation, work has begun on two amazing and transformative projects. In the picture above, the area shown will be cleared and re-planted with a diverse array of native Wisconsin plants. The picture below shows the markings of our future butterfly garden. Both these projects will include lots of work, but offer so many new and exciting opportunities for all of the Woodside and Hamilton School District community.