Early Childhood Programs Blog

Forest Explorers Week 7

November 22, 2016 - Earth Friends

Week 7!

After our check in circle, we headed towards the Bauer Preserve to harvest some of the last Autumn Olive berries! Its amazing how there are certain plants like Autumn Olive that you can harvest for months, while plants like Paw Paw only last for a couple weeks! We then headed back towards the main meadow to do some mapping! In the age of GPS and Google Earth, mapping by hand is still very useful and really helps you orient yourself to your landscape, as well as see how everything connects.

I had recently got a new Mora Knife that has a built into Ferrocerium striker, so we decided to test it out! Ferrocerium is a man-made metal and can create sparks up to 5,430 degrees! While it is not the same as flint and steel, it is very useful in a survival situation, and a good example of a more modern way to make a fire without a lighter. We got to test it on some fluffy Milkweed seeds and it worked very effectively, igniting instantly! If you want to make an actual fire, make sure you add some dry grass so the flame doesn’t go out immediately! After dousing the Milkweed fluff with water to be extra safe, we headed towards the wetlands.

On the way we got to check out and eats some Wild Onion grass! Wild Onion (Allium canadense) also called Canadian Garlic has really tasty bulbs and grassy tops! It can easily be confused for regular grass, but as soon as you tear off a few tops and smell the garlicky smell, you will know you have found the right plant! Once you learn to identify it, you will start to see it everywhere!

Right at the trail head, we checked out a dead Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) that had died with a nut in his mouth! We then headed down the trail till we got into the woods and had some nice freeplay time! While the kids were playing, I had them help collect some spicebush twigs so I could make a nice wildcrafted tea with my new pocket stove!

After the tea steeped, and cooled down, we got to drink some while Ms. Paula read us a story! It was a great way to end the day 🙂