I feel like I could write a short story about our morning together! Painting the nest boxes was on our agenda and wait 'til you see the beautiful painting these kiddos did! I put on Swan Lake for musical inspiration and there is something magical about the music and the paint and the gift of living in the present moment when painting. Children are SO MUCH BETTER at this than adults. I find it moving in a way that you have to experience in person. I'm so lucky to be able to do so. When nest box painting is happening, we discuss birds, naturally, and who makes nests and who prefers cavity nests, and who might be using these beautiful nest boxes when they are hanging in yards. f Today we also discussed the four essentials for every living thing. When I set up this activity, I also discuss the fact that I am recycling many things. The containers we use for the paint are plastic egg crates that previously were holding cage free eggs. Cage free chickens produce cage free eggs, and that's just better for all... The plastic egg crates are made from recycled water bottles and the containers I set up for water wash are yogurt containers. Waste upsets me. I realize that my family may have bad dreams about cardboard tubes and rinsed out yogurt cups, but I put them to good use after they take up space in our home for a while. Please see the finished nest boxes in photos below.
Our bird walk was an abbreviated one, because we were enjoying the nest box painting so much. We even had an impromptu visit from Jerry who works at the museum to discuss some of the crazy things that have been used in the osprey platform nest on the marsh at CCMNH: tennis balls, police tape, plastic bags, even a Barbie Doll! When we were on our walk, one of the KidSummer kids noticed what she thought to be a grasshopper, but it was a praying mantis!!! One of my favorite insects! We stopped to pick it up, and that very brave youngster (who was unhappily swatting ants off her ankles 2 days ago...) took the praying mantis in her hands and it crawled quickly up her arm, all the way to her shoulder... and then suddenly BOUNDED off her shoulder!!! What a moment. I like to believe one none of us will soon forget. That bug was SO fast I could NOT get a photo of him. When I attempted to retrieve him so the other two could hold him... one of the KidSummer kids started yelling, "NO! NO! NO!" and I didn't know why... He was warning me of the nasty poison ivy that I had my hands near to try to catch the praying mantis! I am CONSTANTLY reminding them that the poison ivy is here and there, showing them the plants. I was so intent on getting that bug in my hands, I FORGOT! I was so proud of him reminding me to be careful. AMAZING. Sometimes our very best memories, exist as just that, exceptional moments, that endure in our thoughts, and make us laugh out loud, decades later. It was quite a morning and I could go on... but time for photos. These KidSummer kids all earned "awards" today. I do not list kids' names here, but they know who they are.
Those were the "awards". Can't wait to see them tomorrow morning...
(double click photos to enlarge)
and in the insect department...
Nest box painting
Four things every living thing needs in order to survive...
Jerry discussing some of the Ospreys' crazy nesting materials...
Paint is a fun mess.
Bird built nests
Nature Build - a new outdoor feature at CCMNH
Watching the Osprey
Osprey on the nest