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What lies beneath?

It’s not a mouse, not a mole, but a Meadow Vole. Our new critter this week is just getting more visible now that spring is here but it’s only been hiding just below our feet. Enjoy searching for those little round holes leading down and you may be at the doorstep of this friendly rodent.

Ask your child to share their journal entry today, which follows vole tracks along a tunnel to lots of information. See if your child can recall some of the eleven facts we found along the creek trail. This tiny creature certainly kept us guessing until the last red clue. It seemed the final fact helped us eliminate our other guesses like rabbit, bison, bear, coyote, or beaver. We discovered how much a Meadow Vole weighs and used an object to compare it to. What did we use (closed pinecone)? Our nature journals are filling up with these new nature discoveries. Chickadee can tell you all about how we set up our journal to make it fun and interesting. Raccoon managed to get all 11 facts included in her tunnel system. Squirrel and Acorn gave their very best effort today.

Imagine eating your body weight in plants every day. We just had to test this out by judging how heavy Frog was and how big a lunch it might take to equal his body weight. Do you recall how much Frog says he weighs (60lbs)?

As we traveled along the creek looking in some tricky places for clues, we also took time to use some magnifying lenses to check out cool shapes in shells or the spying a leafy dry high up in the Black Walnut trees. Raccoon was amazed at how deep inside a snail shell she could see. “I wouldn’t want to fall in there", she exclaimed! Acorn could check out the horse play in the field from his perch in the pine tree and Frog taught Salmon how to use his finger to help locate a faraway owl's nest using the monoculars (cool single lense spyglass).

Predator/prey games are a favourite way to get into an animal's skin and feel what life might be like. What food sources were you searching for and what predators kept you on the lookout? Were you able to collect your weight (2.5oz) in chopped grasses? Voles must do a lot of moving to find this much food. How do they avoid predators, what are their strategies?

After starting our day with a gift for the birds we spotted some new feathered friends. What birds do we see at the farm feeders or in the forest from small songbirds to soaring giants (cardinal, red-head woodpecker, turkey vulture, chickadee, nuthatch, blue jay…..and lots of red-winged blackbirds)

It’s maple syrup time! Was the sap running at the farm? How did we take a trees temperature to find out if the sap was rising from the roots? What temperature does it need to be for this to happen (remember to use the proper units - not elephants:).

Wander time was a little different today. We got into construction projects, snow removal, stick houses and sap collection. Heavy work after our healthy lunch certainly felt good. Check in to see what your child got up to around the farm fire pit.

The horses need lots of attention. What did we do to make sure they were comfortable and healthy? Which horses came into the barn today?

It’s always fun to have someone new along with us. We are grateful to Moose who came out for the full day to join us, making sure things flowed well. He also doubled as a roving fox on the hunt for a tasty fat vole. Heron was in the barn, shuffling horses and helping with mucking out stalls. It takes a village!

A BIG high five to each of our nature schoolers; finding clues and knowing we need to get to a dry spot to read them, helping younger children to find mitts or activities they enjoy, trying out new friendship even though you have a besty in the group, sharing your parents when they come to school with you. You are all bloosoming into amazing outdoor learners. Can’t wait to see what cool discoveries you make next week Forest Friends:)


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