Week 5 | Fox Walkers at Whatcom | Sunshine and Yellow Jackets

We had an exciting Friday at Whatcom Falls Park last week, which unfortunately included most of the group being bitten and stung by an ornery hive of ground-nesting yellow jackets! 

The day started off magically enough — after a week full of wet weather, we were finally granted a reprieve.  It was a beautiful sunny morning made all the more beautiful by the autumn colors and the water beading off of the moss and leaves.  We enjoyed our morning routine which included examining a beautiful Varied Thrush (who likely died during the recent windstorm) and playing an extremely fun game of Fox and Rabbits.

Our puppet show/story time had us learning about the adventures of Moon Bird and Running Deer’s cat, Little Dog, and how she learned to hunt.  Their dog, Coony, (who we learned last week transforms into a raccoon sometimes to use his “Raccoon Hands”) taught Little Dog how to use her “Dog Nose” to become a fierce hunter.  After the story, Melissa put on a blindfold and had the Fox Walkers use some essential oil to lead her on a scent trail. 

We had some marvelous adventures which had us following the sunshine through the forest to a place we had yet to visit with this group.  It was a seemingly perfect day until sometime after lunch. A few of us had finished eating and packed up early so we were having some free play and exploring a cool section off trail with a lot of big rotting logs when one of the little guys stepped right on a ground nest of some late-season yellow jackets… I sounded the alarm and sprung into action … The first guy was too freaked out to run so I grabbed him and hi-tailed it out of there with the other boys clearing the way…  Far enough down the trail from the next, we regrouped. From the screams emanating from that Forest, it was clear that this was a massively traumatic and painful event for our group of young nature lovers.  Four boys in all got bitten/stung incliding one little guy who was stung for the very first time in his ear. We took quite a bit of time just letting the group cry and scream and process the whole thing while applying Plantain salves and administering Benadryl and trying to radiate calm.  This was one of those times where I was super grateful for our low Mentor-to-Child ratio!   Even though it was hard, everyone eventually calmed down and even smiled once or twice on the way home to get big hugs from Mommas…

It would seem that we are not the only ones who enjoy that late sunshine, the yellow jackets are still awake as well… I am grateful that no-one has an allergy in the group and also that these are resilient kids who will be back next week smarter and stronger then ever!