INTO THE WOODS. Our main goal today was to explore another trail that's right behind the school, to see and hear what might be in there. When I watch these bird nerds enthusiastic about walking among the trees and hearing the fallen leaves crunch under their feet, I can't help but be inspired. I also wish we had more time. Forty minutes truly flies by though and I always need to get them back in time for the end of the school day. It's rewarding to see what happens when we're out there. They notice and discover things they may not have ever seen before, natural distractions that can be found on any trail, in any yard here on the Cape, once you start paying attention.
They were asking me, "What is THIS?", "What kind of moss is this?", "Look at this mushroom!", "What kind of berries are these?", "Where did THIS come from?". I gathered them up close for a moment & asked them to take a moment to be attentive to their senses: See the sunlight reaching through the wooded branches to reach as many leaves and pine needles as possible. Listen to the sound of the wind blowing through the pines (it almost sounds like the ocean). Feel the soft moss and the rough edges of the fallen branches. Smell the change in the season coming from the forest floor. Taste the crispness in the air as the temperature slowly drops while the sun goes down.
They did. They paused. They listened. They love being in these woods. I asked them each to give me a word describing their immediate surroundings...
Here is their list:
thinner (describing the path as we got deeper into the woods)
I'm loving this list. We also were treated to a brief visit from 3 Dark-eyed Juncos. This flock of bird nerds is still perfecting their patience & QUIET when it comes to birdwatching. I believe, once they realize that we'll see & hear more birds if they practice those skills... we will start seeing and hearing more birds on our Monday afternoon adventures. They've got the curiosity thing down. They make me proud.
(double click photos to enlarge)
Into the woods
Oak Apple Gall
They were surprised to learn that a
wasp made this structure
Discovering a heart-shaped leaf
(Inkberry - I'm pretty sure)
Enjoying the trail
What happened to that tree?
Looking for the Dark-eyed Junco on the edge of the field