We had a fun week at FNS with a lot of exploring (as usual!) and discovering many things along the way. We focused on using our “owl eyes” and and other senses to uncover some of the secrets of the forest. Along the way we found mysterious holes with empty snail shells all around it, dozens of nuts in a hole in a maple tree, a bunch of tunnels revealed under the snow, an unknown hornet nest – with a hornet still inside and, of course, tracks galore!
Every track tells a story is our motto and it was so much fun coming with likely (and unlikely!) stories for all these signs. Imaginations went wild, which leads to connection, which leads to research, which leads to even more connection. Behind the scenes: As you know, rarely do we tell our students the “answers” (a hard thing to do from a teacher’s perspective…) in an effort to build true, memorable connections with nature. We feel that the connection can be inhibited with a simple and quick answer. Instead, we like to spark and feed their curiosity and support them in the investigative work!
And thus, this is why we now know that bald-faced hornets build beautiful nests in trees; or that shrews like to stockpile snails for the winter; or that there is an undiscovered walnut tree somewhere in the vicinity – you get the picture.
One big part of our week for the older groups was when one of our class dogs uncovered a deer leg. We got up close and personal with it (totally optional) and pieced together the story with the our groups – coyotes. It gave us a somewhat rare opportunity to examine its cloven hoof and fur up close, and have a better understanding of the tracks we see and connection with fur we see stuck to trees. And while death can be hard subject, it led to meaningful and reflective conversation with our students.
Thanks for reading some of our highlights from this week.