Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nate performs at Crow's Path

My friend Nate, aka Gull, is an incredible musician and has played around the world. He was recently in town visiting and added some percussive flare to the morning walk in to Crow's Path. I had him go into the woods before the kids arrived and had him start playing as we walked in. We were about 100 yards away when the drums kicked in. The kids were thrilled to be greeted by his drumming. A few of us later did a blind-folded drum stalk through the woods to where Nate was playing. It was a great addition to our day!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25

Leo, the angry ninja
Today was another wonderful weather day. We started in the parking lot by creating costumes out of a huge pile of scrap fleece I came across last week in Hyde Park. Needless to say, it took longer to get into the woods than normal.

This is our 3rd year partnering with Big Picture South Burlington students. We've had some wonderful interns from their school in the past and this year we look forward to welcoming some new faces. Today Allie visited Crow's Path to see if it would be a good fit for her academic goals. Tanner, Gavin, and Myles were our Ambassadors and gave her a tour of the site. When we have guests, kids volunteer to be our ambassadors. Ambassadors make our guests feel welcome by giving them a tour, sharing stories with them, and showing them places that they should know about.  Here, they're exploring our "art gallery."

Our ambassadors show Allie around

Our guilds split up into three groups. One group went out into the meadow and harvested milkweed for making cordage. Another built shelters, but wound up working together to bring down a large white ash snag. They used teamwork to devise a pulley system that would allow them to pull down the tree in the direction they wanted while being out of harm's way. The third group went on a wander to the cliffs to look and listen for birds.

Before splitting into guilds, the group put on our forensic investigator hats and went to where we had set out the beaver carcass to check on the game cam and see what was left. Unfortunately the memory card was low on memory so we only got a few videos. I'll leave it as a mystery as to what animals we got on video and reveal it next week after everyone's gotten a chance to take their guesses.

Last spring we had some UVM students work with us to build an entrance structure and we planted gourds at the base of it. We got one fruit that's been drying. Matt harvested it this morning and will let it dry for a few weeks before turning it into a bowl.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11

Sam with her finished product
We split into guilds again for the morning. Lauren's guild set off to make bittersweet baskets. Through trial and error they figured out a process and at the end of the day Sam had a beautiful basket woven out of birch bark, bittersweet, and sensitive fern.

Tanner sets up the game cam while Luke shields his nose from the smell 
My guild headed off to the woods east of our camp to set up a game came with a road kill beaver I picked up on Tuesday. We put the beaver about 3' up in a red oak. We postulated it would attract fox, fisher, raccoon, and possibly coyote. We'll check the game cam in 2 weeks when we're back at camp and see if we were right.

Seth with a collection of clay babies
On our way back to camp we took the stream with the hopes of finding fossils from the Champlain Sea, which existed 10,000 years ago. We didn't find any fossils, but we did find these clay babies. These are similar to the "buttons" you find at button bay, but the form underground around decaying roots.

Up close cross section of a clay baby

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4

Anjay with his sword-in-progress
At the entrance to the woods
We were happy that the weather held off today until the last few minutes of the day! I find in reflecting on the day that I could write forever about all our little adventures. Instead I'll give a brief synopsis of our day with some photos I took and explanations of some of our core routines.

Gate Keeper: Each morning we gather at the edge of the woods, eagerly awaiting our own challenge. Our gatekeeper whispers a unique challenge to each kid ("See which trees are turning yellow and which are turning orange"). We then walk quietly into the woods, one at a time. The gate was built by UVM students last Spring and serves as a chance to shake off the road dust and consciously shift into "woods time."

Cody tending the fire
Fire tenders: Once we arrive at our camp, we get a fire going using friction. The kids have been super excited about getting involved and all want to help. We agreed to share this responsibility, of tending the fire, and each week we have a couple of kids that take this on. Today Cody and Seth helped out. Afterwards we asked them what they learned from the experience. "It's hard to start a fire when it's wet, but shaving off the bark of twigs is a good start!"

Welcoming guests: I had a friend visiting today and he met us out at the camp. We had two kids (Magnus & Luke) who served as our ambassadors this time. We talked about how we might make a guest feel welcome in our space and the kids suggested we give them a tour. Nate brought his drum kit and played some wonderful music for us (I'll post a video for next week). We gave the ambassadors the challenge of trying to sneak up on him first, the pat him on the shoulder to offer him a tour.

Magnus with a destroying angel we found 
Phenology: Phenology is the study of the time of different seasonal events in the natural world. Today we were focused on the mushrooms! Magnus found a destroying angel (above) and the Drawing Guild collected about a dozen different specimens. All the rain has certainly brought out a new world. We also found lots of eastern newts probably brought out of the leaf litter with all the rain. In their juvenile stage (up to 7 years long) they spend their time wandering the forest.

Red eft (juvenile Eastern newt)