Wild, blustery winds greeted us at Fairhaven Park last Tuesday! So wild, in fact, that during snack and story (which we held in the meadow, away from the big trees!) a hat and an empty backpack flew away from us! Luckily both items were quickly retrieved.
Our story last week brought awareness to another natural hazard— lightning! In this story, Moon Bird and Running Deer were continuing on their backpacking trip up Thunder Mountain when a storm rolled in unexpectedly. Moon Bird was excited to view the storm from up high, so he ran ahead of Running Deer to get to the top of the mountain. Suddenly, Running Deer heard thunder close by, and she realized the potential for danger up on the mountaintop. She quickly ran to save Moon Bird from the lighting that was about to strike the rock he was sitting on. Unfortunately, Running Deer slipped and fell on her way up the mountain. Then all of a sudden, a push of energy revitalized her so that she could get to Moon Bird just in time. As Moon Bird and Running Deer were catching their breath after narrowly avoiding the lightning strike, they spotted a peaceful-looking female cougar in the distance. They wondered if the cougar was Mr. Big Cat’s wife, as Mr. Big Cat had hinted that his wife may appear sometime when they need help. Was it this cougar who gave Running Deer that extra push that she needed to get up the mountain to save Moon Bird? Hmmm. . .
Our story taught us that it’s best to avoid being in high places (such as the top of a mountain!) when a lightning storm is nearby. Pat and I spent some time after story on Tuesday and Thursday discussing with the Fox Walkers some other places that we should also avoid in the event of a lightning storm, such as underneath tall trees and in the middle of an open field. We also talked about how we should stay away from metal objects and water, as they are conductors of electricity. The Fox Walkers took some time to notice which trees around them are the tallest, and which spots are made of metal, such as the fence around the tennis court and the playground structures. Although lightning storms are rare around here, Pat and I feel that it’s important to cultivate awareness of this natural hazard, just in case!
On Tuesday, since there was an official “high wind warning”, we to erred on the side of caution and avoided going in the woods with Fox Walkers altogether. Instead, we all spent the day in the big soccer field, making kites out of up-cycled materials and seeing if they could fly. We had a blast experimenting with these creations and observing wind patterns! Our friend Skye stopped by for a visit at the end of the day, and we played an exciting game of "Otter Steals Fish" with her!
On Thursday, we began our day with the task of using butter knives to strip the bark of the Oregon Grape plant. The bark is a bright yellow color and contains an alkaloid known as berberine, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral effects. We’ll be using our Oregon Grape bark shavings to make a medicinal tincture and hand sanitizer (for more info, read my blog HERE) Afterwards we adventured to the creek to see if there were any salmon swimming upstream. Although there were no salmon sightings, the Fox Walkers had a wonderful time making fishing poles and boats. Some even participated in a bit of “rabbit hunting” with Pat’s throwing stick!
It was another wonderful week at forest kindergarten, and we’re so thankful for our adventures with this sweet crew of kiddos!