Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nature Walk

It's another perfect fall day in Vermont today -- two in a row. So I thought I'd go outside today...

Last week, I taught a "Four Winds" nature unit to Max and his Kindergarten classmates. The subject was, in Max's words, how animals find their way. This is my fifth year of teaching these monthly classes, starting with Mia in Kindergarten. Since I'd worked my way up to third and fourth graders last year, I'd forgotten how darn cute those little ones are in Four Winds. They all want to tell lengthy stories -- usually completely unrelated to the subject. Before last week's lesson, I asked the class to tell me about some of their classroom rules: "Don't wiggle around too much." "Don't hit other people." These weren't actually the class rules, but they were good ones anyway.

Other than the curiosity in the kids themselves, the greatest thing about these classes is the stuff I've learned. Here are a few things I know now that I didn't two weeks ago:

  • Digger wasps don't sting, but they find their way back to their ground holes using nearby landmarks.
  • After their adventures out in the ocean, salmon find their way back to the stream in which they were born by the stream's smell.
  • Some migrating birds use the low-pitched sounds of crashing waves to help follow coastlines.
Cool stuff to know.

So I'm going to rely on my own landmarks and sense of direction to head out and visit my garden and hens for a few minutes before I check in to work this morning. Hopefully, I'll find my way but lose track of time!

(277 words)

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