Week 1 was certainly an adventure!
We had 12 backyard explorers arrive after school to try out Owl Woods for the very first time. We started our time together with a snack on the big rock. We played a few running games (clearly necessary after a day of classroom time and a bus ride), then stashed our backpacks under a roof before preparing to head down the trail…..at which point the dark clouds rolled in. We quickly returned to our backpacks to grab rain gear before scurrying down the trail to check out the kiva, our forest meeting spot.
Our goal for the day was to turn on our senses, so we paused for a moment to listen to the sound of rain falling on the tarp. It was so loud it was difficult to hear one another, but it quickly tapered and allowed us to move on to using some other senses. The children all decorated tree tags and then picked a tree to mark with their tag. We plan to return to our chosen trees each week to observe what is happening in the moment, as well as changes with the season.
Our next adventure was to “Meet a Tree.” This activity involves working with a buddy or two, and taking turns either as the guide or the blindfolded “observer.” The guide leads his/her blindfolded friend to a tree, allows time for touching, smelling, hearing, (and maybe even tasting) the tree, then guides the observer back to the starting point before removing the blindfold. The observer then tries to locate the tree he/she just met, this time with the benefit of sight. You can see from the blurry photos that our adventurers were actively engaged in this activity!
Once the rain clouds lifted, we took a group hike to the beaver pond. We found salamander eggs, salamanders, toads, and lots of beaver sign on the trees. We found leaves and rocks of different colors, and lots of mud. Most of us waded into the mud and got kind of messy. Some of us pretended we were in quicksand, and a few of us came home with muddy socks. We finished off our day with some time on the swing set and zip line under sunny skies. These owlets are off to a great start!