After sharing gratitudes this morning, and while eating snack, we heard a rustling in the trees. Who could it be? Maybe Squirrel? While stretching our awareness to see what else we could hear, Ava spotted movement from a different direction. "It's a turtle!" she exclaimed! We all gathered around turtle, and through careful observation, learned how to differentiate between male and female turtles. We determined this one was male based on the slight concave area on the belly of his shell. We were so thrilled that he graced us with his presence this morning!
After all of the turtle excitement, we headed down to the sand clearing to play a few rounds of "Oh Deer!" This game explores the resources that all animals need to survive - food, water, and shelter - and demonstrates the natural ebb-and-flow relationship between populations and those resources.
Free Play & Lunch
Next, we wandered to a nice shady spot by the pond and spent some time exploring the area. Some friends worked on a stick fort, others fished for minnows, climbed trees, or pretended to be forest fairies by decorating each others hair with colorful leaves. Jay even caught a minnow with his bare hands! Wow! We then gathered in a circle to share lunch time as a community, and listened to part two of Ms. Kathryn's Wood Gnome story.
Clan Wander & Sit Spot
After lunch, we split into our clans - Dogwood Clan and Cedar Clan - and set off in different directions to do some exploring. While in these smaller groups, we also enjoyed a "sit spot" which is a time to find your own special nature place, and sit quietly to observe all of your surroundings. We talked about how most humans live in an "awareness bubble" that wild animals are really good at staying just outside of. By spending time being still and quiet, we invite these animals to come a little closer, and eventually to where we can see them right in front of us! In our sit spots, we saw lots of interesting things we hadn't noticed before- beautiful bright purple/pink berries, a Golden Orb Spider web and a bird big enough to make a shadow in front of the sun when it flew overhead!
After our Sit Spot, Cedar Clan was curious about where the other group had gone and decided to see if we could track them. Before we set out we talked about how we were going to find them. Declan thought that we could probably hear them before we saw them and so we should try to be as quiet as possible once we got a little farther away from camp. We knew which way they had left from camp and so we headed that way, too. At the fork in the trail, West was certain he saw Ava's bootprint heading down the trail towards the swamp and so we continued that way. When we got to the next intersection on the trail we all paused and used our Deer Ears to listen in all directions for a clue. We heard them! We crept down the trail towards the sound of voices and spotted our friends by the island in the swamp. We spread out and crept toward them. It was harder to be quiet off the trail with all the sticks and dying-back shrubs. The other group got a big kick out of finding us, and we had a lot of fun trying to find them!