Here are some beautiful moments captured during our Forest Fridays in the month of January!
For Paula's 40th Birthday, I put together a video for her with the help of the students. This is a look at PGS from the beginning!
Last week we went to the outdoor campus and split into our FF groups. We now have the Cheetahs (group B) and the Curious Fawns (group A). The Cheetahs took a hike down into the wetland/prairie area. The Curious Fawns hiked around the pond. Both groups used their eyes and ears to find as many animals as we could. We recorded what we saw and discussed the four groups of animals we were seeing....Mammals, Birds, Insects, Herps (reptiles and amphibians). These discussions and data collection led into our journaling we did at the end of the day in the yurt. We split our journal page into four quadrants and labeled each with the four classifications. The students drew at least one animal they saw from each group. We soon realized that mammals were the most difficult to see because it is hard to be quiet and patient when your a kid. While we were journaling, Lon and Kate were taking small groups of kids up to the "hunter's house" which is a giant tower that Lon built to observe animals. This may have been the highlight of FF for most kids!
Our first Forest Friday (FF) was a bit wet in the beginning. While it rained we stayed indoors with Michelle Nepple (Austin's mom). She had a presentation for the kids about Niagara Falls. Her and her husband had just visited the falls and she had pictures and maps and stories to share with the students. They enjoyed the success stories of people going over the falls!
The rain stopped and we headed outside for demonstrations about water. Nicole's station was focused around molecules and cohesion. Michelle's station was hydropower and my station was how water creates erosion. The students had a fun time and some may have gotten a little more wet!
We had lunch at the "Yes Farm". This is what I am starting to call my house because people ask, "Do you want a..." and we always say "Yes!" Then after lunch we played in the barn and I took small groups out to feed the goats and visit the chickens. Nicole gathered the kids in the barn to sing "The Water Cycle" which allowed the kids to transition nicely into a writing activity. We asked the students what they are excited about with upcoming FF's. ANIMALS! They would like to see, catch and rescue animals. Other ideas were outdoor cooking, field trips to farms and they yurt. :)
We harvested kale, cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers this week for cooking. The kids found a recipe for a tomato, basil & mozzarella salad in the book, Twist it Up, by kid chef Jack Witherspoon. We also found a recipe for homemade hummus to dip our cucumbers and peppers in. Kale will be made into kale chips. I am so proud of the kiddos for prepping all of the veggies today. The finished product will be coming tomorrow, along with the equally important presentation and community building while we share our beautiful creations.
Kids loved exploring crevices, finding crayfish, making dams, touching seaweed, dropping rocks into holes, & wading in water!
The kids discovered a baby bird alone in the grass. They pulled out Masha's encyclopedia of animals and attempted to identify it!
Here is a close up of the baby. We didn't want to leave it in the grass because Orville (the neighborhood dog) was wandering around!
We put the bird in a tree using leaves to pick him up. Miraculously our knowledgeable friend, Lon, showed up and helped us identify the bird as a Cedar Wing Black Bird!
If you want to make the protein balls at home, this is the recipe we used:
9 Energy Bite Recipes Everyone Must Have!
Check out our time-lapse video as the Yurt goes up!
It was a challenging day, but WE GOT IT DONE!! A special thanks to those who helped that day including Dusty & Leah Overman, Benj Upchurch & his dad, Jim, Michael Whetstone, Lon Drake & Katie Imborek. Also a HUGE thank you to everyone who made donations and helped make this dream a reality! You are the BEST!!!