Fire Keepers | Week 5 | Salamander Meander

Wednesday was another high-energy day with the Fire Keepers!  Our focus for the day was on Amphibian identification.  This is the perfect time of year to look for amphibians and their egg masses!

We began our morning with a game of Fire in the Forest, and the animals we chose were of local amphibian varieties, including Pacific Chorus Frog, Northwestern Salamander, and Rough-Skinned Newt! 

After games, Patrick shared an epic story about our friend Marco (aka Moon Bird) and the time he went hunting for invasive bullfrogs in a swamp with his friends.  He made a special spear for the hunt, and used his fox feet to sneak up real close to the frogs at night.  He felt a bit torn by the experience: on the one hand, he was sad to hunt the bullfrog because he loved all animals, especially amphibians.  On the other hand, he felt like he was helping out the native amphibian species by hunting the bullfrogs because they are a threat to them.  In the end he was truly grateful and humbled by the experience of frog hunting for the first time.

After story we took off on an adventure in search of salamanders, flipping over rotten logs as we walked.  We ended up finding four salamanders total, three of which were different species!  We found the Common Ensatina Salamander, the Long-toed Salamander, and the Western Red-backed Salamander!  We spent lots of time closely examining each one, using a key to identify them, and drawing them in our journals.  It was fascinating and exciting to hang out with these creature!

We had every intention of making our way to the swampy areas in the park to look for egg masses, but after playing a fun hiding game called Ravenspy and enjoying our lunches in the woods, we got distracted by all the cool stuff at the pond!  It was there that one of the Fire Keepers caught an actual fish in a net, while another Fire Keeper discovered the claw of an crayfish.  We also played a few rounds of a sneaky barefoot game called Ninja.  Muddy feet all around!  

We ended our day with a few rounds of Meet-a-Tree and sharing knife safety rules with our two new Fire Keepers.

Looking forward to next week, hope you all are enjoying Spring Break!