Spring on Vacation… and bird languages!

Hey Folks,

We focused our attention on our sit spots for the morning,  where students were asked to draw from memory a map of their special spot.  And then the fun part, as we wondered what these places might look like when we are not there, we channeled our inner sneaky creatures (cheetahs, tigers, chipmunks, snakes, anything!) and quietly made our way to our Sit Spots with a specific task in mind: to listen.

Students remained quiet and still for sometimes more than 15 minutes and came back with many stories to share.  Big fat Mama Robins, chirpy little chickadees, Red Tailed Hawks that found a home in the tallest tree of Maple Forest, Geese interrupting the peacefulness and so much more.  We visualized and made up stories about what these birds were doing (some with elaborate backstories!), interpreted their bird language and inevitably slowed right down to help instill that sense of not just being a visitor, but belonging in Nature.

Tues-Thurs Groups

Afterwards, teamwork and creation came alive as we spent time constructing and working our sit spots and before we knew it, it was lunch.   And of course, we just had to take advantage of of this snow, too.  So our afternoon adventures had us headed out to Fossil Mountain (with a keen eye for birds and tracks) to toboggan and tube in Mid-April!  And a great place for students to channel their inner penguins!

Friday – Field Trip: Clendennan Dam

After our bird watching, we headed in the van on our first Spring Field Trip to just outside of Clarksburg on the Beaver River.  With no set km’s or agenda, a really cool thing happened when we arrived – it took us a full hour to move 100m!  We were enticed by the flowing river – first by racing sticks and snowballs down, until we noticed some crayfish hiding and had to try to catch them.  A little further along we found an old abandoned stone building which became “Castle Bank” and the epic saga of cops vs bandits ensued.  And before we knew it, lunchtime!

After lunch we headed into the woods and got our hike underway.  As we progressed, we slipped down slopes, jumped into animal roles during games (camouflage, manhunt) and took some quiet time to listen for the birds.  And before we knew it, we had to head back!  It’s incredible how fast time flies in Nature.

BEHIND THE SCENES:

This week at Forest School we had a a heavy focus on sensory awareness, quieting the mind and connection with the natural world – the “quiet mind” being an important attribute we hope to help develop in our students.  What better way to take a long quiet break than with a focus on birds and their language?  It helps our minds calm, become uncluttered and more observant.

As of late, we have been asking our students to share something they’ve noticed in the environment on the way to school or when arriving.  And in turn we re-ask this at the end of the day.  We’ve seen this turn into a collective view of our world and open our eyes, ears and even our feelings. We challenge you, too, to notice one thing every morning on your way to work or wherever you may be headed.

We also challenged our Thursday students to figure out who’s nest this belongs to:

It’s woven together from slender fibers that can include grass, strips of grapevine bark, wool, and horsehair, as well as artificial fibers.

Our hint to the student’s is that it’s a picture:

Our hint to you: it’s a baseball team.

Why didn’t we tell them what it is? Well we’ve found when you tell someone what something is, the story ends there – it can rob them of the chance to fully understand and know something.  By creating this mystery, we’re inviting them into the story in an effort to create an on-going connection.

Cheers,

The Forest School Team

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