Happy late winter, everyone!
Cold, blustery winds and snow may have stopped our plans on Tuesday, but Thursday was a different story! For 3 whole hours, we spent our time amongst the winter wonderland. We started with a warm, toasty fire. It served as our ‘home base’ when it got too cold. Forest Friends helped us start the fire by collecting kindling and wood. We then made sure we kept feeding the fire with what we found. We must’ve done a good job, because the fire stayed warm for the whole class.
Snowfall is a great opportunity to talk tracking! We read Whose Tracks Are These? by Jim Nail. It helped us recognize forest animals and the ‘track stories’ that they tell. When tracking, the direction, the space between the tracks, and any disturbances in the line should be observed. Each variation of the track tells the story about what the animal may have been doing. We went to ‘Scat Row’ (the grassy area that runs parallel to Irvine’s driveway) to look for signs of track stories. This area is known for its flurry of track and scat activity during the year. However, we noticed that we saw very little tracking there. We predicted it was probably because the snow had become tlacringrist. Tlacringrist is the Inuit word for ‘snow that is crusted on the surface’ . We thought that because of the tlacringrists’ layer, the animals may not have been able to press down into the snow to leave a track. We noticed that our body was not leaving tracks either!
Back at our home base fire, we drank hot chocolate and got in some super fun sledding time! The tlacringrist snow made it perfectly slippery! Even Ms. Paula was having fun sliding down!
For some tranquil time, we hiked into the beautifully quiet and peaceful winter woods for a story and some winter exploring. We saw many more tracks on the trail than we did on Scat Row! We read Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. Little did we know that an entire ecosystem might be existing underneath of our snow crusted boots!
Our day ended with a delicious, fiery toasted marshmallow on top! Yum!
Stay Warm, Forest Flurriers!