News from the Wild #22

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“That’s so cool! I love nature. It’s my favorite place in the whole world,” said an Oak today. I had just shown the children how water beads up on the leaves of jewelweed down by the pond. It reminded me of a t-shirt I saw recently of a tiny bird, that said, “The little things are the big things.” Here are these small humans, learning about a new plant, with wonder in their eyes. Here are their small muddy hands holding a giant worm so gently. Here are their fingers, pointing at a flash of red – “Cardinal!” Here they are, in shock and awe, watching a snake trying to eat a toad, and a frog trying to eat a dragonfly. Here they are, exploring, climbing, creating, discovering. Each moment, one could say, is a little thing. But they all add up to minds full of connections and hearts full of love. Each child, one could say, is a little thing. And yet, they will grow as surely as the seasons turn. And we will send them off into the wide world, with nature as a life-long friend.

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Playing “Follow the Bird”

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Bamboo forest meditation

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We brought a camp stove to Hilltop to cook up some invasive bamboo shoots.

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The verdict: YUM! The proposal title: Invasives Eradication by Hungry Kids (Extra kids courtesy of Take Your Child to Work Day : )

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Potion-making never gets old –  the ingredients on offer are constantly changing!

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Demolition team

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The treasure tree is laden with treasure!

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“Ninja Warrior” is all the rage, so we built a course at Hilltop

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Ninja in training

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Happy swinging climbing. Patient turn waiting.

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Bird nest at Hilltop. With door mat.

On Friday, we went on a long hike to the Rock Creek side, turned left instead of right, and were glad we did!

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Wetland wonders: turtles sunning, green heron fishing

We realized the path was leading to….a playground! Field trip within a field trip.

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Field trip to civilization! Learning to pump on the swings.

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The Oaks’ favorite snack.

Once we left the playground, things got wild quickly!

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Garter snake snacking on a toad.

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Hard to watch. Hard to walk away. Lots to think about. An experience that calls for some comfort from a friend. 

With such an audience, the snake gave up. “We saved the toad!” But what will the snake eat? Nature is not all flowers.

Part of feeling at home in nature is knowing you have friends there. The Oaks became  enthusiastic birders over the last two weeks, learning bird calls, sighting birds on the wing and in the trees. We made bird food, created bird-inspired art, and played bird games.

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Birdathon!

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Painting with feathers and writing with quills.

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Self-portrait, with bird and love.

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Making “bird pudding”. Look at all those hands sharing space and resources!

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Bird chefs

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Hanging the treats

We played bird call hide and seek, with paired musical instruments. Bird one hides. Bird two calls and listens for the answering call, before trying to find her partner.

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Hiding bird makes her call

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Seeking bird calls back, and is off!

We wrapped up our Spring Journals in the Blair Native Plant Garden. Each child chose a plant and followed its changes over six weeks.

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Final documentation of their chosen plant

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“You can use the colors you see and the colors you imagine.”

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Focus

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Careful details

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Using teamwork and a lever to break off a coveted branch.

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“Look at all the eggs!”

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A huge goal achieved- getting inside the lunch spot silver maple!

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Taking a peek into the deep

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All the way in!

 

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Listening to the story of Herman the Worm

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Getting reading for ponding

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“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

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“The worm will feel right at home here!”

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Time and space to just be.

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