A stir-fry and damselflies.

Hey Folks,

We got up to a lot of different adventures this week, check out the recap below.

Tuesday

As we explored our senses by taking away sight in a few  games throughout the day, we gained a better understanding of how animals survive in the wild. We also sang our hearts out on Tuesday and even wrote our very own song – which rippled its way through the whole week.  Some students put on their builder caps, too, and made a giant xylophone to hang from a tree!

When the rain cleared up, it was time for fun by the pond.  And, as we were especially sneaky and quiet, we were able to temporarily catch and observe turtles, frogs and thousands of tadpoles.  We even caught a snake in the Northern (“Unknown”) Zone!

Wednesday

We took some time in the morning to jump into the role of being a chicken (and a frantic one at that!)  This, ironically, set us up for a quiet reflection: students got their journals, observed some real birds and got really creative with what they thought the birds’ conversations would be.  This took the form of comic strips, full on scripts, birds with names and much more.

After snack, off to sit spots where we used over 250ft of donated burlap to beef up our shelters (a big thanks to our friends who donated it!).  Our next task was to lend the folks at Bygone Day’s a hand by recovering their submerged boat in the pond.  Students eagerly volunteered and we were eventually able to flip it – only to uncover that dozens of Rock Bass were hiding underneath and now trapped in the boat!  Everyone got a chance to catch them.

At the same time an epic trench was being dug and a full on workforce was organized.  Every person had their job -my personal favourite being Prime Minister (Me!).  The socio-dramatic play became so immersive, that there was even a group meeting at lunch to discuss plans and details.

With the excitement around being in the Lakeside Area, we just had to return after eating.  We laid out different options for students to follow their interests, with many choosing to continue work on the trench.  Some grabbed their nets though and caught (and successfully identified) damselfly and dragonfly nymphs, while others harvested some Garlic Mustard and made a delicious pesto!

Thursday

Our students were really excited to spend time in their sit spots Thursday morning and spend time interacting with all sorts of critters.  We were easily (and happily!) distracted by all the bird action – orioles, swallows, red-wing black birds, grackles and much more.  We were captivated by the sounds and songs (and fights!) of these birds,  Students were equally interested in the aquatic critters.  In total, we discovered five baby painted turtles, found out what damselfly nymphs looked liked and of course caught some frogs.   And this all before snack.

We decided to have a lunch out in Grape Valley where we played and hiked our day away.  We checked in on the toad eggs we discovered last week – and now there are thousands of tadpoles!  We brought a few back to the class to watch them grow (and a few lucky parents now have some of their very own!).

Friday

Our focus Friday was learning about plants and what’s good to eat – and what to avoid!  We headed out to the far West of property to forage and collect what we could.  We hiked around both Maple Forest and Mysterious Forest (and played some games in between) and found lots of leeks, garlic mustard, dandelions, wild carrots (Queen Anne’s lace) and trout lilies.  We also successfully identified and imprinted in our minds our nemesis poison ivy (eek!) as well as stinging nettle (although also edible!).

After our huge success, including identifying huge patches of Canadian ginger, we headed back.  And all the hard work paid off as we celebrated with a feast at “The Fort” fire pit.  Students volunteered to chop, grind and gather the veggies as we collectively created a delicious stir-fry over the (flint and steel lit!) fire.  Some students also made a tasty pesto from the Garlic Mustard – check out a recipe on our Facebook Page!

And now a shameless pitch:

Want to know more about the plants your kids are learning about so they (and you!) can safely eat at home?  We have Only 4 spaces remaining for our Wild Edible Workshop on June 2nd from 1-4pm with local Naturalist Brian McLelland-Tuck.  For more info visit here.

See you next week!

Matt and Krista

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