Our forest takotas are now Irvine guides and rain play experts! We have traveled so many trails and had so many wet days! It’s hard to believe that its almost over!
Tuesday’s trail blazing finally took us to the elusive pond where there are seemingly more froglets and tadpoles than stars in the sky! To get there however, we put on our hikers’ hats and took notice of our surroundings getting there! We followed specific landmarks and made sure to note which shoulder each landmark was facing, that way, on our way back, we would follow our directions backwards and the landmark would be on the opposite shoulder. We learned that real hikers do this so they don’t get lost in the wilderness. The class dictated the landmarks, keeping in mind that we were creating a landmark map for someone who may never have been to Irvine before. Here is our landmark map to the pond:
1.) Start at Outdoor Classroom
2.) Enter the Vista Loop Trail with the dirt mound on your left shoulder
3.) Pass the black sap tree on your left shoulder
4.) You’ll see a bug hotel which is shaped like a triangle on your right shoulder
5.) Mr. Tall will be on your left with a ring and tag around his trunk
6.) Enter the gazebo that looks like a little house and rest
7.) At the small tired hill down to the meadow, you will see purple flowers. We call them “Ms. Paula’s Fault” flowers. Head to the right of those flowers
7.) Pass the bee boxes on your right shoulder and head down that side of the meadow
8.) Cross at opening of orange fence (with a grown up)
9.) Pass the tiny wild strawberries and bird box #53 (that has eggs!)
10.) Cross muddy area at bottom of the meadow
11.) Follow the path until you see the ‘naked’ tree on your left shoulder
12.) Turn left at the hay bales and black oak tree
13.) Congratulations! You have found the pond!
We stopped at different areas and closed our eyes as Ms. Paula read back the directions. Most of us agreed that we could actually picture the places we have passed as she described them! We of course, reversed the directions on the way back!
At the pond, everyone had so much fun catching tadpoles in their jars! We studied frogs in many different stages of metamorphosis. It was one of our most exciting discoveries! Ms. Sophie and Ms. Paula think they would have spent all day there if we had the time!
Thursday lent us another rainy exploration day! Ms. Kelly came to visit us and helped us learn a few new, cool things! We made leaf cups from the spicebush. All you do is fold the leaf into your hand in a cup shape, add water and viola! Our travels led us to the fairy circle where we gathered mud clay and used it to help tell the folktale –Coyote Makes Man by James Sage. Coyote was almost done creating the world. All he needed was an image of man. All the animals created man in their own image out of clay but Coyote was not convinced. He ended up creating man by using all other animals’ best features!
The rain was quite heavy, we thought it would be a fantastic time to build a shelter! Ms. Kelly and friends helped build a tent and we enjoyed dry heads, hot chocolate, and another folk tale! This one was entitled Raven by Gerald McDermot. The world was gray and rainy (just like our day!) before the sun was found. Raven reincarnated himself to be able to find the box that held the world’s largest light, when he set the light free from the box, he flew it up into the sky where everyone could enjoy it! Over this school year, we could theoretically be able to make lots of compares and contrasts of the different folktales that involve the sun and moon. We have read so many this year that explain the origins of them!
Lastly, to finish the day with some math, we did trials of leaves. We sent a leaf through the drainpipe that ran through the access road and counted how long it would take to come out the other side! Here are our trial results:
Leaf 1: 28 seconds
Leaf 2: Stuck in pipe
Leaf 3: 24 seconds
Leaf 4: 47 seconds
Leaf 5: Stuck in pipe
Leaf 6: 42 seconds
Float on, Forest Friends!