It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon! It almost felt like early spring. First we made predictions and then we checked out the swamp. It is ever-changing and always new and mysterious! Students who were out last week noticed how little snow there was and predicted that the ice would have softened or thinned in the swamp.
“Look, Mrs. Hoogerland! It’s a current! There are currents here!” There did, indeed, appear to be pathways frozen into the ice. We wondered how that happened.
There were so many different animal tracks frozen into the ice.
We talked a lot about the different sorts of bubbles in the ice. R. hypothesized that the white and cloudy ice had more air in it and the clear ice had less.
J. waited patiently for me to come see all the cool discoveries he made farther out into the swamp. This one was some kind of moss or fungus that reminded me of a brown caterpillar on the underside of the branch.
They were fascinated by this orange icicle and we all guessed at what made it that color. They came up with many theories!
R. kept finding these beautiful bubbles that she said looked like disco balls!
B. enjoys his, “bench,” and decides to just chill out there for a while.
This tree full of fresh pileated woodpecker holes was one of the swamp discoveries that J. made and D. couldn’t wait to help show me! We talked about how important dead trees and logs are to wildlife of all kinds.
A frozen deer track.
The mini magnifiers in our compass/whistles are great for inspecting tiny air bubbles in the ice!
I didn’t recall ever seeing milkweed out here in the fall.
Everyone was excited to show me this find! I have so much to learn about fungi!
By the time we got to the Secret Fort Tree they were getting pretty hot and were removing layers.
D is always looking for new ways to climb!
O. sweetly helped our new explorer, H. climb the Secret Fort Tree. All the kids made sure to keep H. with them and were constantly checking to make sure she wasn’t left behind or left alone today. I was really impressed by their group kindness to a newcomer.
Welcome to the Cattail Cafe! As we hiked over to the Boardwalk we mentioned that we were hungry. O. suggested that there could be a cafe out there. We named it, “The Cattail Cafe,” and started giggling, coming up with one food after another. Cattail Burgers, Cattail Fries, Cattail Cookies, buy one get one free… we laughed as we pretended to be doing commercials for it.
She never gets tired of waving cattail wands and spreading cattail magic fluff everywhere!
It is amazing that this moss is still so green in the midst of winter!