Woods and Wetlands 2018

Last Day


I have come to love these small groups of explorers.  On this day we could have really used our “shed,” full of supplies, but since people (kids on weekends or evenings?) keep disassembling it and taking our stuff, I had to haul it home for the summer until I can locate a more sturdy and lockable vessel for the fall.  Any donations toward something like that would be most welcome!

Toward the end of our session we passed through the yard belonging to the land-owner who allows us to learn on his property.  We met him for the first time ever and everyone nicely thanked him for letting us explore there.  Thank you, Mr. Larry!

What a lovely and perfect place to be a spider! Thank you, Spiders, for catching mosquitoes. We were not enjoying the ones you did not yet catch!
Always so happy to be doing her own thing in the woods!
Hmm. Deeper than expected!
At first she worried that someone would be mad that she didn’t have her “exploring” clothes on, but she soon forgot about it and just had fun.
Look out! When she’s on a mission, there’s no stopping her!
Hello, frog!


3 different types of fern
There is plenty of space for everyone to have their own frog-hunting area, but they insist on crowding together to get one frog!


Everyone was so excited to have caught such a very large frog, a green frog, but I finally insisted they let the poor thing go on its way. The frogs were exhausted, I think.
“What happens if…”
“He likes it!” (Or maybe he’s giving up on freedom?)
It was uncomfortably hot up on the playground, but down in the swamp it was shady and pleasant.
A new plant for me to look up!


She is one of the most observant and detail-oriented learners! She spotted the look alike swamp blueberry bush by recognizing the tiny, unripe “blueberries.”


I think there’s a kid in this photo… somewhere…. the swamp was SO different now! O. wanted to go to her secret spots but quickly turned back when she realized how easy it would be to get lost now. It’s time for orange vests, whistles, and compasses!
The fiddle-heads have become full sized ferns!
How many kids can hide behind one fern?
He’s always so happy out here!
We love the Tilted Tree.
K. enjoys the “slide” feature of the Tilted Tree.
D. is demonstrating what he would have to do if one of the branches was missing.
Climbing is so good for the body and soul!
Woods and Wetlands 2018

Springtime Magic

I have all these plastic, net produce bags left over from various fruit or veggies and I hate to put them in the landfill. I don’t think they can be recycled, so I decided to see if the kids could make their own nets! E. worked on hers for a long time, patiently weaving a wire she found from an old wire-bound notebook around the opening and then attaching it to a stick for a handle. She was pretty proud of her efforts!
Part of the engineering process is fixing errors and modifying design.
O. made a type of net that she could drag through the water and muck to collect whatever might be there.
I. and E. with their nets.
I showed the kids one of my favorite wildflowers of spring and we all had a taste. These violets are edible and, In my opinion, taste, “purple.”
I taught a few kids how to squeak blades of grass by pressing them firmly between one’s thumbs and blowing air through the spaces on either side.
We found ferns in all phases of development. Some were still tightly curled fiddleheads, others were wide open, and some were somewhere in between.
What can you catch?
C. loved this “island” in the Enchanted Forest. The name of this “new” area continues to evolve, but I think this time it might remain, “The Enchanted Forest.” S. came up with it and it sounded just right.
E. was the only one to successfully squeak her blades of grass. This reminded me that when I was her first grade teacher she was also the one who was able to get the most sound out of my trumpet!
The Birthday Girl! We all sang, “Happy Birthday,” to her from behind trees, popping our heads out on opposite tree sides every other line.
We seriously could have stayed hours longer!
D. and J. went off on their own adventure which they narrated, much to my amusement. They called it something else, like their trials or something difficult. I wish I could recall what it was, but they sure had fun creating pretend danger for themselves!
Sometimes we find things that are NOT part of nature and are more dangerous than anything nature has to offer out there! J. was fascinated to have found this real arrow stuck in a decomposing log in the water. I was thankful he brought it to me before touching the tip which was wickedly sharp and deadly looking. I am also glad we don’t go barefoot out there. He was pretty excited though! Talk about treasure for a boy!
I. explores the sandy mud with a stick for a digging tool.
I can almost see the fairies!
Catching some fun!
This is a great little tool for examining small finds. We used to have more of them but they disappeared. We need a securely latched container out there.
Trillium? Or Jack-In-the-Pulpit? I think trillium. We shall see!
Finally!!! We have been listening to the frogs week after week and never seeing them. This time they were everywhere! This is a wood frog, identified by the dark, brown “eyeliner” extending below and behind its eyes.
Don’t squeeze too hard!
Anyone who wanted to hold a frog had to do a, “mud wash,” by rubbing dirt and water all over their hands to protect the sensitive skin of the amphibian from the various toxins on our hands such as hand sanitizer, soap, or lotions.
This one was a bit stunned, I think, from being held a bit too tightly or too long. But it soon swam away, so we hoped for the best.
There it goes!
Holding a tiny frog cupped in her hands and talking a mile a minute!
We observed a frog from above and below!
Looking for more frogs. It was time to go but J. insisted that we come back here EVERY TIME! He said he could have stayed all night.
Mud. It washes off.
I. kindly and gently putting the snails back in the water.
Strong is the new beautiful!