Early Childhood Programs Blog

Looking a Little Closer…

September 23, 2016 - Forest Dreamers

This week in Forest Dreamers, we took a closer look at some of the wonder around us! It can be pretty fun to run through the trails as fast as we can, but its also just as important to pause sometimes and see the things that make up a forest, field or meadow.  Two important words we learned were classify and identify. In order to identify something, we need to see what it looks like, where it came from, what it smells like, and even what it may taste like!

Our journals got some use this week as we identified Autumn Olive, an edible berry on the Bauer Preserve. We collected some berries, and after eating a few, we smashed them into our journals and taped a leaf in there as well so that we could properly identify it again if we saw it! We made an observation about those ‘kitty cat’ leaves we kept finding as well and identified those as Tulip Poplar leaves! Even Quercus Alba’s (White Oak), cousin Quercus Rubra (Red Oak) was found on our travels! Other mentionable finds were Mile-A-Minute, Canadian Thistle and Porcelain Berries. This newfound knowledge will help us to spend some more time looking into the bushes and under our feet!

The Woodland Garden is a great place to continue looking for identifiable plants and so is a field guide! We took a look at some of Irvine’s field guides and talked about how we are always continuously learning more and more about the world around us by using things like our senses, field guides and help from others.

Native American culture is something we gravitate to in our group as well. We like to pretend to be early Native Americans as we hike and forage. We played a game that Native Americans used to play to increase their stealth and swiftness! Gathering food  for your village without being caught by another tribe was no easy task. Only the fastest and the quietest would be sent to protected areas to gather goods that their village needed! We also read a Hopi Tribe’s story called How the Butterflies Came to Be and learned how an Elder created butterflies using a special recipe of natural ingredients! We were hoping to see some amongst the milkweed, but no luck!

Flutter On, Forest Dreamers!