Week 5 | Fox Walkers at Fairhaven | Owl, Salamander, and "Dog Nose"!

It rained.  It poured.  It gusted.  And it got sunny and warm.  All in a day at Forest Kindergarten.

Despite last week’s wet weather, Pat and I heard zero complaints from the children.  Just lots of enthusiastic puddle jumping and game playing as the rain poured down on us.  This is one resilient group of Fox Walkers!  (The waterproof clothing helps a lot too.  So thank you, parents, for equipping your children with the right gear for the season!)

We spent our mornings dialing in our fire-making skills once again.  On Thursday a couple of students even got a chance to “baton” firewood.  This is a great way to get the wood chopped while also giving the kids the opportunity to "whack" with a wood stick, which is something they often gravitate towards doing anyway!

Our story and puppet show presented the core routine of “Dog Nose”, as Moon Bird and Running Deer’s pet cat shape-shifted into a dog and taught them how to use their sense of smell as a powerful nature awareness skill!

The Fox Walkers explored their own Dog Noses throughout our wanderings together last week, as we sniffed the moist fall air, smelled some mysterious smelly items that Pat put into "scent boxes", and participated in a “scent trail” blindfolded activity.  

One particular highlight from the week was our adventure over to Frog Swamp Flats, a meadow/clearing on the edge of the forest that is home to a few seasonal swamps which provide habitat for lots of critters.  We love exploring this area.  We found a “Pirate ship”, discovered some debris shelters, and encountered an enormous Northwestern Salamander under a rotten log.  Patrick has a special gift for locating salamanders and he was very excited about finding this one as it was one of the biggest salamanders we've ever seen.  It's camouflage was also quite impressive!  Pat made sure to have a mound of moist soil in his hand for handling the salamander, as they are very sensitive and breathe through their skin.  The salamander ended up crawling onto Pat's bare hand while he was holding it, luckily his hands were moist too!

Another highlight was a Barred Owl sighting at the end of the day on Tuesday!  The jays and crows alerted us to the owl's presence through their alarm calls and mobbing behavior.  It's always so exciting to witness bird language in action!  We enjoyed watching the owl from below his perch for a little while!

All in all it was another great week with our forest friends, and we're truly grateful for the time we spend together.  Looking forward to this week's adventures!