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Monarch Mysteries

What a way to start the day! An amazing emergence just in time for us to watch this crumpled monarch pump up her wings to prepare for flight. It all unfolded in front of twenty excited eyeballs, watching with whispers and crowding in to see this new creature greet the world.

Our caterpillar found in the cut cornfiled last week is next in line to emerge from his newly spun chrysalis in 11 days and counting!

We set off along the trail with a purpose. Each child was to find one amazing nature treasure. It could be a collectable item, or one which couldn’t be brought along and needed a memory photo to be taken to share later. Giving a purposefor ‘noticing’ when out walking, builds a bigger ‘landscape of what is known to children, adding to their nature literacy bank and engaging their interest in the natural world around them. Thanks Ella (Wolf) for showing her nature treausre, black walnuts!

Pine Haven log circle has become a ‘happy place’ for us to rest, listen to a story, or chat with new friends. Today we enjoyed hearing the book, 'The Tree Named Steve', about a family who saves a large tree which becomes the centre of their lives. This may become a familiar story for you, as your child builds a strong connection to their tree friend at Stoneridge, and comes home with stories about its place in the world and in their hearts.

Onward up to the newly harvested corn field for a quick camouflage game. Ask your child about who the players in this game are (mice/Great horned owl), and if they chose a good hiding spot. We thought Daisy was the best hider, but she had just gone back for the crayfish box:).

At our new fav space, Pine Slope, was seen by Acorn as a great hill to try tree cookie surfing and tree climbing. We did try this, but ended up having a unique circle share about animals that might live in the sky, forest, meadows, creeks or underground at the farm. Each twig that was placed in a circle represents one animal that lives here.

Crayfish are still a BIG preoccupation and are very abundant. Big and small, these creatures are amazing to catch and observe. What can your child tell you about the hiding places and behaviours of crayfish. Who else lives in this little creek?

The backwoods log circle can be reached through a backdoor trail from the cornfield. On our trip through we had to play a cornrow game of mouse versus owl before settling at the circle. At 'wander time' children usually use the most abundant natural materials and CREATE. Right now, this is CORN. Using mortar & pestles, spoons, and even an ice cream scoop the corn kernels were peeled off and pounded down in to a mash for the chickens. Someone’s great idea was to add the juice from the wild cucumber as an extra special ingredient. These pods filled with juicy pockets housing slippery speckled seeds ready for soil and sunshine. Ask your child why we can take these cucumber pods from the vines at this time of year. What did we do with the seeds? Why will springtime be amazing for us in this area? Our friend frog (Clay) loves constructing and added a roof to his fort.

On our route back we visited the milkweed patch on the cornfield and brought along one seed pod each. You may get a funny look when you ask why? They don’t know yet! This will be part of a new activity for next week I promise!

Lunchtime fills the nature guides with awe as we look around at all the healthy and novel food choices our awesome parents have packed. Are there really mouse watermelon??? Of course Wolf brought the question of the day…Why do leaves change colour? It’s one of those ‘just right’ moments that educators cherish; an opening for learning and sharing that could not be planned for. I had a book waiting expectantly in my backpack called, "Why Do Leaves Change Colour" that was happily pulled out. Ask your child what they understand about this great mystery of autumn.

Finally our footsteps led us back to the home farm. Tree friends were waiting. and after a tour of all the options your child chose one. This will be their friend for as long as they remain in nature school. It will be a teacher and friend throughout the seasons. Ask your child what species their tree is and what ‘friend’ name they have given it. They may wish their journal entry today, their leaf rubbing and picture. Ask them what makes their tree so special. Enjoy this slide deck:)

We always close with stars and wishes, favourite parts and hopes for next week. Clay said it was ALL his favourite part! It was a miraculous day. Thanks so much for the guiding hand of Daisy (Kim) and expert photography of Raccoon (Gord). This is our very own beauty that emerged today.

Can’t wait to see what mysteries await us next week Forest Friends!


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