Monday, April 29, 2013

field trippin'

On Friday, on our way to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for a homeschool field trip we made a random stop along the river to eat oranges and float leaf 'boats' for the fairies downstream.

When we got to the reserve, Ayla and I joined Sylvia's group to do some hiking and pond-sample collecting and identification, while Camille's group donned chest waders to walk out into the pond and played rendezvous games.  The games included hatchet and cast iron skillet tossing, rabbit-sticks, and cat-and-mouse (a game that involves two players standing on stumps and holding either end of a rope and trying to tug and trick the other one into falling off).

At the pond we saw a turtle, muskrat, birds, and various water critters.
painted turtle and Canada goose

 The pond collections included these attractive dragonfly nymphs, as well as a tadpole, caddisfly larvae (which is an indicator of pond health, as they are picky about their environment), horsefly larvae, snails, water beetles, red bloodworms, etc.
 We used charts to identify what we collected before returning them to the pond.
 While Sylvia was rinsing out nets she fell in up to her waist, soaking her pants, and filling her boots with water.  I had dry clothes back at the visitor center, but her friend helped her feel better by holding her hand the whole way back while she hiked barefoot in soaking corduroys.
When we rejoined Camille's group, we found out that Camille had tipped forward while wearing the waders and similarly soaked herself.  I always expect these things to happen to my kids, and had plenty of back-up gear.

At the end of the day, Camille showed Sylvia the rendezvous games, and we were the last folks to leave.  My very favorite photo of the day is shown on the previous post about joyful parenting.  Camille can throw a hatchet like a pioneer. 
skillet tossing and cat-and-mouse
 I overheard one of the other kids saying, "I don't like science."  When he was reminded that he'd been doing hands-on science all day, he enthusiastically changed his mind.  "Oh, yeah."  Engagement in learning is a good thing.


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