3.16.17 | FoxWalkers Forest Kindergarten- Owl Pellets, Amphibian Eggs, and Indian Plum

The sun was shining and the birds were singing at Forest Kindergarten on Thursday, and we’re so grateful for the fun adventures that we all enjoyed together!  

Above:  Turning over logs to look for salamanders, below: charcoal face-paint!

We began our day with charcoal face-painting in the meadow.  After gratitude and movement circle, I shared another story from the adventures of Running Deer and Moon Bird.   This time, the duo got caught in a thunderstorm while hiking up a mountain.  Luckily, Moon Bird moved out of the way before he got struck by lighting, and he learned from that experienced that it’s best to stay low and close to the ground (rather than high up on a mountaintop!) in a storm like that.

We then took off on an adventure, with a mission to find a missing purple glove that was left behind at last week’s Survival Skills Day.  Along the way, we were greeted by a Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Flickers, and lots and lots of songbirds!   We encountered a plethora of Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) along the trail, and we spent some time looking closely at its leaves.  The young leaves are indeed edible (and taste a bit like cucumber skin!).  We tasted some leaves with our eyes closed, and Pat and I made it clear to the students that they must ask before picking and eating any wild edibles!  

We searched for salamanders and other critters under logs, played hiding games along the trail, and practiced fox-walking.  We eventually found ourselves at our new favorite spot, an open meadow with vernal ponds.  After lunch we explored the ponds with our nets and carefully looked for amphibian eggs.  It’s still a bit early in the season, but after lots of searching I finally uncovered what appeared to be some very small eggs forming a mat-like mass amongst the algae in one of the pools.  Perhaps from the Northern Red-legged Frog? Pacific Chorus Frog? A Salamander?   Seemed a bit too immature to tell, but I look forward to checking back on the eggs next week!

Another exciting discovery was a couple of owl pellets at the base of a tree.  We poked them a bit and discovered some small rodent bones amongst the fur!  After engaging in some free play, doing some more exploring, and silently sneaking up on American Robins, it was time to head back home.

It was an all-around awesome day, and Pat and I are really enjoying getting to know this sweet group of kids!  Looking forward to next week's class!

Exploring and tasting Young Indian Plum Leaves

Left: Owl Pellet full of rodent bones, top right: exploring vernal pools, bottom right: small eggs in mat-like mass amongst algae