Early Childhood Programs Blog

There’s a Coyote Where???- Forest Dreamers Monday/Wednesday

December 10, 2018 - Forest Dreamers, Preschool

Last week we saw our first every coyote print in a Forest Dreamer class! This was pretty exciting because we have heard about them, found and studied their scat, yet have NEVER seen one! When we mentioned this to our Monday/Wednesday Forest Dreamer friends, everyone agreed that we should head over to Bauer and see if the print was still there.

We set off from the Glen towards the Native American site and of course we were distracted by the bales of straw still sitting by the road. Who can’t pass up the opportunity to jump, crawl, and play there 🙂 When we reached the wooden bridges leading us to Bauer, we stopped for a snack and to read from “Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back:A Native American Year of Moons” by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London.  The kids love hearing stories passed down from different native american tribes.

Finally, we made it and sadly, our print had been washed away by the weekend rains! Not willing to turn back, we set off down the trail to explore some new meadows. We soon found some trails that took us into the tall grasses and brambles. Splitting up to follow the deer trails, we came upon flattened grasses that the deer were using as beds.  We connected back together and found our FIRST birch tree where we pulled some bark off and talked about using it as paper. We also discovered a skeleton and wondered if if could have been a meal for our resident coyote.  As we headed back to Irvine, everyone expressed excitement to come back and further explore this area!

Last night we had a frost! As we enjoy and discuss signs of winter, we also look for ways to enjoy and appreciate the changing seasons. Today, we went to the ponds to see if the water had frozen with the freezing nighttime temperatures.  We were not disappointed!! Not only was there ice, but it was thick ice making it great for tossing across the surface and watching it shatter.

We were in awe of the frozen leaves and algae that we discovered in the ice. We also found some “Algae bumps” on the surface which were very unusual. At one point, we even witnessed a frog swim across the bottom of the pond. This led to a discussion about what we think the pond amphibians do during the winter! Brumation! This was a new term for our Forest Dreamer friends. Hibernation is what happens to warm-blooded animals and cold-blooded animals brumate! Check out this site for more information! https://nature.discoveryplace.org/blog/ask-a-naturalist-hibernation-vs.-brumation-vs.-estivation

After some time at the ponds, our friends were ready to warm up and head back to Irvine for a campfire and roasted “toffee” apples! We discussed the three elements that a fire needs to burn and (unfortunately for us) what hinders a fire.  Moisture! I say unfortunately because with all the rain and the frost, it took us almost an entire hour to get some good coals! Thankfully, the kids were able to quickly roast their apples over the flames as the dry grasses caught!