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)