Woods and Wetlands 2018New Group, New Location July 6, 2018July 6, 2018 woodsandwetlands Before we even reached the woods we spotted a slug in the sunny, sandy path. This is not a normal place for a slug so we wondered why it was there. We used magnifiers to inspect the slug’s cool little eyes on the ends of tiny stalks. With the lightest touch the slug pulls its eyeballs back inside its head and then pops them back out moments later. It’s cool to watch. I told the kids about how the slug’s slime protects it from sharp objects and how there are doctors and scientists who are experimenting with recreating slug slime that can be used to seal up human organs when surgery has been performed. The slime is protective and can work better than stitches or staples. What is on this leaf? Logs are meant to be walked on. I never get tired of watching kids practice log-walking. Sometimes they develop routines they will perform over and over for fun, but I know that they are also building strength, balance, coordination, and self confidence. They also use this process for creative problem solving and self-testing. So many cool fungi after a rain! M. said this one reminded him of a funnel. L. spotted this lovely butterfly with her camouflaged spots. We reached the stream and found it to be COLD! They walked this log over and over, eventually “falling” in on purpose repeatedly. We are so fortunate to have such a pretty place to explore. Weird growths on tree leaves. From bugs? From disease? We wondered. The creek varied in depth. Iridescent damselflies flitted all around in the sunny patches above the creek. B. was laughing here and announcing, “This is SO FUN!” In order to continue on down the creek we had to bend down and creep underneath a fallen tree. We had to clear some spider webs as we went. The spiders were probably displeased. We wondered how they get their webs from one side of the water to the other? A gorgeous web that must have taken a lot of work! Friends and neighbors happily sitting on the log noticing water striders on the surface. Two damselflies. L. noticed a green frog. This is a portion of dead tree roots that has been worn away by the moving water. After a while we wandered to another place along the stream and the kids started taking turns jumping off the muddy bank into the water, happily laughing and yelling as their feet splashed into the cold water. I love the cooperation this simple activity requires. Mid-jump. and sometimes we slip and fall! Happy and balanced, each waiting their turn, giving space, being self aware at the same time that they maintain respectful awareness of each other. L. plugs her nose as she wades through the skunk cabbage. It’s pretty stinky when you walk on it! I tried over and over again to capture E’s amazing smile and laughing eyes but she is elusive! Of course, eventually someone notices how cool the rocks look under the water! L begins a rock collection. I found a feather from a barred owl! Whose scat is this? It is full of berry seeds. Another spider web with a looong spider in the center! At the beginning and end of our session we played, “Pooh Sticks,” a game originated in the original Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne. We each dropped in a distinctive stick on one side of the bridge and then ran to the other side to watch and see which one came out first, second, third, etc. We experimented with different sizes and shapes of sticks and then, later, pine cones. Pooh Sticks is a game of physics! They called out excitedly, “There’s MY stick!” I loved watching them collectively dash from one side of the bridge to the other and climb up to look over for their stick. I joined them each time with the exception of these photos.