Deer and Fawn Day Nov 4: Blindfolded Connections

A blindfolded Momma Bird gets led by her daughter to go "Meet a Tree".

This past Friday we had our monthly Deer and Fawn Days Family Program out in Fairhaven Park. (Don't forget, First Fridays in Fairhaven, if you want to join us next time!)  After a cooler, wet week, the clouds parted Friday morning and gave us a beautiful day!  

There was a nice turnout of families, with the kid ranging in age from 3-7 years old.  Being so close to Halloween, Melissa and I were excited to show off our homemade Bird costumes (Kingfisher and Anna's Hummingbird) one more time! I quickly realized that the flowing silk robe which made up my wings and tail was not the most conducive outfit for following animals trails through the underbrush on hands and knees so that didn't last too long.  

While a few of the kids and I were crawling and climbing through the bushes, Melissa and the parents were at the "Nature Museum" with a great "Animal Skulls" field guide trying to ID some skulls that we had brought along that morning.  As important as deep immersion in the natural world is, deep immersion in a field guide is a great way to reinforce things you learn in the field and answer some questions you might hold!  I personally have had experiences of serendipity while looking in a field guide. While searching for something else entirely I will come across something I have never seen or noticed before. Once it enters my field of awareness in seems to show up in my life somewhere that I didn't expect it! Kismet is alive and well in the Nature connection world.

A good learning moment happened while we were headed out for a wander.  One of the children realized that you could see his tracks in the wet grass. When he moved, there was a different color green! What a cool observation. As well tried to follow each others tracks we noticed other trails already made! Smack dab in the middle of one of these trails was a track captured in time by the mud. In a direct line from it, 12 feet away, there was another similar impression. We got to look at and touch the 4 deep toe pads and large heel pad. We looked at the claws marks and wondered what had made such a track -- do you think you know?

I think it is safe to say that a major highlight of the day for everyone was playing a simple but powerful Nature Connection game called "Meet A Tree".  The concept in simple: one partner is blindfolded and safely led by their partner to a certain tree. Once at their tree, the blindfolded partner is invited to "meet" the tree for as long as they like with all of their senses, save for sight.  They can hug, smell, kiss, listen to and connect with this grounded denizen of the forest.  When they think they have gone through introductions sufficiently enough they ask their partner to take them back to the starting point.  Then the blindfold is removed and they try to find their tree.  You might be surprised that almost every single time the blindfolded person is able to find the individual tree, or at least come pretty dang close.  

We invited the parents to be blindfolded first and pair off with their kids.  Being blindfold can be pretty intense and uncomfortable for children and having an adult model this behavior first, can allow children who may be scared or resistant at first to sink into their other senses. Taking away sight can be an amazing tool for nature connection.  Plus Luke Skywalker didn't become a master Jedi by using his sight all the time -- sometimes you must look within to the tap into the "force".

We hope to see you next month. Our next upcoming Deer and Fawn Day is December 2nd and we hope to see you there!
Don't forget to register ahead of time to ensure a spot for your family.