Aright, Week 3!
After having some time to settle in, we went to the beginning of the trail to meet Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)! Sassafras was one of the first exports when Europeans came to North America. It is the main ingredient in Root Beer! Its twigs can be used as a tooth brush because it is anti-septic or to help start a fire! It is also pretty easy to identify as it had a distinct smell and has 3 different shaped leaves on the same tree! Check this out if you want to learn more and note the pictures of the 3 different leaves at the bottom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum
Then we went over to the small patch of Honey Suckle (Lonicera japonica) nearby and ate some nectar! Although it is an invasive, it is still an important food source for lots of wildlife and very tasty!
When we finished snacking, we did an exercise called Meet-A-Tree! In partnered groups, one person is blindfolded while the other escorts them to a tree. The blindfolded person takes their time using all of their non-visual senses to examine and connect with the tree, and then lets their partner known when they are ready to go back. After being taken back to a central place, the person who examined the tree takes their blindfold off and tries to find their tree without any help. It is a really fun exercise that can expand your awareness in a deep way and shock you at how much you can tell without your eyes!
We then headed to harvest some tasty treats on the new property! On the way we found a bunch of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) and a dead ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)! Once we got there, we found a birds nest as well as tons of tasty Autumn Olives (Elaeagnus umbellata) if you want to learn more, read my Forest Explorers Week 2 blog post. Needless to say if you have ever tasted a ripe berry, it is very easy to become an Autumn Olive fanatic!
Once we gorged ourselves with lots of Autumn Olive berries, we headed back to make a fire! We practiced how to light a match in a safe way and were able to have enough time to roast some marshmallows!
We had a great time meeting lots of new friends this week, many of them very tasty! See you next week!