Seeing With Owl Eyes

Seeing With Owl Eyes

I was twenty-four years old when I saw my first owl.

I had been a student at Wilderness Awareness School for only about a month or so, and I was over-the-top excited about all of the cool things that I was learning about the natural world. 

True to my perfectionist nature, I was taking my sit spot "homework" very, very seriously. I was determined to visit my sit spot every single day--no matter what--for at least twenty minutes.  

One autumn evening, as I fox-walked slowly through the forest to get to my spot, out of the corner of my eye, there was a flash of silent wings.  

I stopped dead in my tracks as I noticed a creature landing in a nearby tree. At first, I thought it was a cat, but then I reminded myself that cats don't fly. I focused in and noticed the creature's pale face, the dark rings around its eyes, and its vertically-streaked belly.  

"Woah!" I exclaimed to no one in particular. "That's a freakin' owl!!"  

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Listening With Deer Ears

Listening With Deer Ears

Listen!  Can you hear it?

The rustle of the leaves as the wind blows through the trees.

The tap-tap-tapping of the Pileated Woodpecker's beak on the hollow of a snag. 

The splash of the rain as it falls upon ferns and onto the thirsty ground.  

The melodic explosion of the male Pacific Wren's song.  

The "PEW!" of the Douglas Squirrel letting out a boisterous alarm.  

Loud sounds, soft sounds, and all sounds in between.  With so much going on, how can you possibly take it all in??  

Today I'm feeling called to share about a core routine of nature awareness that we like to practice at forest school. It's called listening with Deer Ears.

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A Few of My Favorite Plant Field Guides + Reference Books

A Few of My Favorite Plant Field Guides + Reference Books

If you were to pick up my work backpack on any given day at forest school, you just might fall over as you tried to lift it. It’s that heavy! Why, might you ask?

Well, take a peek inside and you’ll find your standard outdoor educator gear: a first-aid kit, bandanas for playing games, fire-making materials, a knife for whittling, a random feather or animal skull or owl pellet, student medical forms, and last but certainly not least, field guides! Lots and lots of field guides. Aha! There’s the culprit! Most field guides aren’t exactly lightweight.

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