Forest Classroom

December Rain

Week 12 December 4, 2023

Mondays can’t seem to catch a break from this wet and cold weather. For me, it is so helpful to have this program on these gloomy weather days because the students help me enjoy the weather and still have fun. In the morning to worked on our tracking skills, we matched pictures of animals with a picture of a track. We worked together to make sure that all the tracks were matched up correctly. I hope each week this winter we can build on our tracking skills. Here is a webinar that I led last year about tracks and winter tracking, watch it at home and go tracking around your area, see what you can identify! 

In the morning we went across the street to the river trail and spent some time exploring the space over there. As we walked we put our tracking skills to the test when we saw a track in the mud. We noted that it had claws, so it was a dog not a cat, and it was big but not as big as a coyote. We also remembered we saw a dog walk down the path before us, so we determined that it was a dog print!

students looking at a print
Taking a look at the print we found in the mud Photo: Audubon Vermont
picture of a muddy dog print
The dog print we identified Photo: Audubon Vermont

We looked at the river and had a great conversation about the water level because we noticed that it was even higher than last week. We discussed that the snow melted and it’s been raining a lot, so the river is higher compared to last week, when it was also pretty high too. Some of us got to see a quick glimpse of a Mink across the river thanks to Emily’s sharp eyes. We talked about what other critters it could be, it was dark brown, so we light maybe a weasel or a fisher, but we settled on Mink since we were by a body of water. 

students exploring the river bank
Exploring the river bank and woods Photo: Audubon Vermont
students sitting on river bank
Looking for the mink across the river Photo: Audubon Vermont
students sitting on a tree
Enjoying our time at the River Photo: Audubon Vermont

After we hiked back from the river, we enjoyed time exploring our Audubon Village. This is such a great activity for me as an educator to watch. Seeing the students communicate, work through problems and feel safe playing in the woods is incredible. The design their own play and incorporate everyone. 

students playing in the woods
Exploring our muddy village in the woods Photo: Audubon Vermont

After lunch (WE FINISHED BELLY UP!) We played Park Ranger in the field and also got to smash and play with the large snowballs that were still remaining from last week. Then we began our journey with a Spot hike. For a few weeks now we have been traveling to 4 spots, the Peeper Pond, Beaver Pond, Brook, and River. At each spot we stop and take a minute to look and listen. After this we share 1 word that came to mind at the spot. This is a great way to practice observation and spotting how the places and spaces can change around us. We are making some powerful observations at the locations and really noticing how the plants and land change with our changing weather and seasons.  

students standing on snowballs
Having fun playing with the snowballs we made last week Photo: Audubon Vermont
Students hiking in the woods
Going on our spot hike! Photo: Audubon Vermont

At the end of our day, we played a game in the woods all together and wrapped up everything with sharing our favorite part of the day! 

Let's hope for more snow and less rain for our final week. 

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