^^^^ WHATCOM FALLS FOX WALKERS^^^^
We've been sinking into more core routines of nature connection over the past couple of weeks at Fox Walkers, including fox walking and sit spot. We've also been setting up the learning culture by establishing our nature names! If you're unfamiliar with these practices, here's a little bit about what they're all about:
Fox Walking is a sneaky way of moving through the forest, which allows us humans to become "invisible" and undetected by wild creatures so that we don't scare them off!
Sit Spot is the practice of finding a place in nature to visit regularly and to observe, using our Owl Eyes and Deer Ears. Amazing things can happen when you sit quietly at your sit spot and pay attention to what's going on around you. I've had many magical encounters with creatures such as deer, owls, squirrels, and hawks at my spot!
Nature Names offer another potent opportunity for connection between ourselves and the animals and plants of our local ecosystem. At all of our programs, each student receives a Nature Name through a random process, which involves having them take turns selecting from a spread of cards that are facing blank-side up. Each card features a photo of a local animal or plant species.
Once a student has chosen a card, we don't reveal the photo right away. Instead, we hold it up above their heads so the rest of the class can see. Then we allow the student to ask their classmates three "yes or no" questions about their nature names, such as: "Does my animal have fur?" "Does my animal have wings?" "Does my animal eat meat?" etc. Then the class mimics the animal so that the student can guess what it is.
Once a student receives their nature name, we invite them to explore what that animal has to teach them throughout the school year. Each animal-- no matter how large or small-- is unique, and has "superpowers" and gifts that they offer to the world!
Curiosity around our nature names brings about opportunities for learning. How does your nature name move? (we often spend time mimicking our nature names in class). Where does your nature name live? (we look for our animals or the tracks and signs that they've left behind on our wanders). Nature names create a culture of empathy for these wild creatures. We begin to imagine what it would be like to look through the eyes of each animal.
Aside from exploring Fox Walking, Sit Spot, and Nature Names, we've had many other magical highlights from our time together over the past couple of weeks.
^^^^FAIRHAVEN PARK FOX WALKERS^^^^
Some highlights from Fairhaven include: visits from a couple of Cooper's Hawks, foraging and roasting crabapples on a cold morning, tasting some chickweed, climbing trees, exploring and "fishing" in the creek, fox walking down to Salmon Bend, seeing a Barred Owl swoop above our head's (the crows told us where it was!), playing a game called Owl Eye, riding on the "Cedar Horses", silliness with "Mr. Fir", bushwhacking, and making fairy houses and nature collages.
Some highlights from Whatcom Falls include: starting a big fire and roasting whatever we could find in our lunches (strawberries, pickles, carrots, turkey, cheese, apples, etc.!), observing the rushing waterfalls after the big rain, visits from a big buck, adventuring to Vine Maple Village and fox walking a bit along the way, journaling, building fairy houses, working together to move wood, climbing, sliding, jumping, playing with "cedar cookies", and finding lots and lots of salamanders!!
We are grateful for these magical moments in the woods with the Fox Walkers, and we’re looking forward to some sunny Autumn skies this week!