Friday, March 22, 2019

Timberwolf Trail - Week 27 - Retzer Visit # 5 - 2018-19 Edition

The week before spring break and it started to feel like spring. . .sort of.

With the songs of birds filling the air, we had to start the week with a round of birding practice as we prepare for our participation in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon.

Mud Season
We also searched for signs of spring and we certainly found them. We played too. 😀

It was also time to take down our animal trail signs and put out our wildflower signs as we prepare for the first signs of the prairie plants we planted in September.

After our sign work, we explored and found lots of fun signs of animal activity.

We might have played a bit too.😀

Each day we took a  few minutes to dig deeper into learning about specific birds we are sure to see in our future birding sessions.

Plus, we investigated the whooping crane. In a few weeks, special guests form the International Crane Foundation will be visiting our school and sharing the crane's wonderful story. Until then, they sent us a trunk of artifacts and tools that will help us deepen our understanding. We are certainly enjoying it so far.

Picture books offer lots of fun insights about the change to spring so we took time to enjoy a sampling of them.

The week ended with our next visit from our Retzer Nature Center friends. This time around, we met at our district's high school woods. We has meet here in November to see how nature prepared for sleeping through winter and today we checked out how it was waking up. Enjoy some of our experiences in pictures below.

One-minute vacation Sit Spot practice

Ms. Susan found a squirrel nest

Hibernator Activator Migrator game

Bud Hunt

Lamb's Ear

Comparing  bark - Smooth
Comparing bark - Rough

Comparing bark -sharp

We might have even played some more.😀

And, when the forest floor is covered with a blanket of leaves, you have to make a leaf shower, right?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Tyke Hike # 63 - Lapham Peak

Spring is only a week away but that didn't stop the ice from making the first Tyke Hike of 2019 a slippery adventure. Essentially, it was a mixture of hiking and ice skating for the 44 hikers.

Departing from the Evergreen Shelter at Lapham Peak, we headed to the trail by using some newly constructed puncheon provided by some amazing Ice Age Trail volunteers from my home chapter, the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter.

The traditional stomp at the mini-tower overlooking the pond was  a huge hit.

An even more huge hit was the wonderful views and amazing tree uncovered by recent volunteer work. The whole trail is very fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented set of volunteers who work tirelessly to improve the trail.

With the hike's theme being  a green party, we searched for green along the way. We found lichen, moss, garlic mustard, and some leaves. I also had a few green-themed prizes for hikers who were able to answer questions about blazes, evergreen trees, and the trail in general.

With a few stops for exploration and natural play, the hike was certainly a preview of an amazing year of nature ahead.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Timberwolf Trail - Week 26 - 2018-19 Edition

The winter thaw began so it was a wet week of nature kindergarten.

At the beginning of the week, the snow melted away to reveal the blanket of ice below.

The melting ice and snow did provide some beauty. The class loved the sparkling crystals they saw on the snowy surface and glistening in the trees.

At the week's end, nearly all the snow had melted away, providing puddle fun and a raging river of thaw. Because the river is only a temporary one and this is the only water feature our outdoor classroom really has, we needed to investigate.

We started at one end of the school and followed the river wherever it went.

The class enjoyed seeing the path the water took, watching the washed away dirt form a beautiful design, and even dipping their fingers in the ice cold water on the nearly sixty degree day.

They were especially intrigued by seeing how the river melted a path under and through the once towering snow pile, before running into the rubber foundation of the playground and making an abrupt turn around the playground and into the field towards the road.

Of course, as we explored the wet earth and the "recess river," the skies opened up and doused us with some more water as the kids enjoyed their very own rain dance.

Our week also had another visit form one of our favorite naturalists who shared the wonderful world of frogs with us.