It was a cold day today with temperatures barely getting out of the 30s. Despite the cold we hiked down to the Gazebo where we had snack and shared any exciting events since last class. We hadn’t been in class for two weeks as we celebrated Thanksgiving so everyone had a lot to share. We hiked into the meadow, hoping to soak up some rays of sunshine but the sun was mostly hidden for the day. Along the way, we found praying mantis egg cases in the brambles in the meadow. Generally, when we’re looking for praying mantis egg cases we look on harder structures first like thin branches, brambles or wood. The eggs are laid in late fall and they overwinter, ready to hatch in spring. Praying mantis are fantastic to have around, especially in your garden because they feast on pesky insects.
Here is a link to some cool information about praying mantis’!
We hiked past the praying mantis’ and to the road where we continued our discussion about artist Nancy Holt from last week. Nancy used large scale art installations to highlight special places on the landscape, she also incorporated constellations quite often. Starting where we left off last week we broke into four groups of two and were given a constellation to recreate with natural materials that we could find around the area. Some of the materials we used included rocks of various sizes, sticks, grass and leaves. In the picture above one of the groups created the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) using rocks to represent the stars. The other constellations that were created were Leo the Lion, Draco the Dragon and Cassiopeia the Queen. Check out our pictures to see the constellations! (In order from left to right: Julien working on Leo and the final product, Sarah Jane and Leo working on Cassiopeia, Draco with the head being the large leaf and the final product of the Little Dipper with added leaves between the rocks).
Leaving our creations for others to see, we headed down the Bauer path, stopped at the restrooms (and found another praying mantis egg sac!) and then looked at the large trail marker to orient ourselves. We chose the direction we were heading and walked over the new boardwalk along Bauer Path. We stopped and found some huge mushrooms that were hard and slimy and also climbed in a sycamore tree. We turned east down Bauer Path, trying to stay moving because of the bitter cold wind blowing us. Along the way we found a lot of deer tracks, stopping to refresh our memory on how to tell which direction the deer is traveling, and heard a few birds in the shrubs nearby and saw a hawk chasing mourning doves over Sunflower Meadow (pictured below). Another sign of wildlife beside the deer tracks that we found was a lot of scat, a lot of it had hair in it and looked like dog droppings. Given that information we figured it might be coyote scat since we do have coyotes on the property. We also told a lot of riddles and solved a lot of them too! We rounded the corner at the back of the meadow and headed west back up Caves Wood Road.
With cold feet and hands we finished class inside by reviewing our achievements page (we’re almost done) and creating our own constellations, named them and created a short story about them. Here is what we all created…Alden made Draco Major (see picture below), Sarah Jane did a sheep dog constellation because it guards people like it guards sheep, Naftali did the Grim, Dylan made a face out of stars, Julien created a guitar, Arianna made a snake constellation and said it was attacked by people and went into the stars to escape, Nasir created a Tempest and said it was a big monster that was angered by the people, Leo created a bell (see picture) and wrote “while the bell is going life is ringing.” What amazing constellations!