Connection to Place

At FSFNS we have 3 simple guiding commitments that help forge our program: connection with self, connection with others and connection with nature.  We find things go smoothly when we are connected to all these things.   And under the umbrella of nature connection (and likely self and others, too) we’d like to take a deep dive into the importance of connection to place. We call this (appropriately enough) place-based education- and it’s not just a current educational buzzword, but an integral part of FSFNS.

In a nutshell, our program is rooted in what is local – our community, our unique history, geography and culture. This occurs weekly simply by attending Forest School and creating that connection with the properties we use and visit.  It also occurs on a smaller level, anytime and anywhere that helps personalize learning for our students. This could be our sit spots, group forts, special areas of the forest we explore… you get the picture.  It happens in the form of repetitive visits to the same spaces, and develops deep connection with direct experiential contact.   We’ve got “repetitive” in bold because we find this arguably the most important thing in understanding and connection to space.

This got us reflecting over the past week or so and we wanted to help illustrate the spectrum of activities, connections and stories that make up one small (well sort of significant) area of Bygone Day’s: The Big Pond.   It started as fun, but then we took this on as a challenge to see how much we could come up with from the past few years (you’ll notice a few may be a stretch!)…. and here we go:

Ice-Fishing, Shore Fishing and Canoe Fishing (Rock Bass and Perch!)
Canoeing and Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Frog and Turtle Hunting
Birding (Herons, Ducks, Geese, so many songbirds… really just so much!)
The swallows that hunt the insects above the water
Building epic dams, bug hotels and other constructions
Sit Spot and quiet time reflection
The home of a Muskrat we watched for weeks
Pond Studies
Homemade Rafts
A shortcut in the winter to other places
Ice safety and measuring ice/water levels
The infamous “toe-biter” and so many other insects/larvae
Lakeside Fires
Water for our Gardens
Water for our Clay Factory
Water for “nature and mud soups” for the teachers
So many snails
Imaginative Markets
Countless hours of just observing
Tracking in the Winter (and Summer!)
Sorting out big feelings and emotional regulation
Mud dances and soaked boots
Reflecting on other times at the pond (“Remember that time…”) full of awe
Wild edibles and cooking
Tree ID, Plant ID, Wildlife ID, all sorts of ID

The list goes on and on! And oh, if this place could talk, the stories it would tell…

…but the kids seem to have that covered for us anyway!


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