Forest Classroom

Soaking up the Sunshine

Week 12

Our day might have started off with a chill in the air, but it warmed up quickly with the strong sun coming out from behind the morning clouds!

We greeted our friends as they arrived and had some time to reconnect with each other and see our new friends from last week. Once we all arrived Sarah and I set up an activity to find pictures of spotted salamanders. This activity helps us get in the mind of a salamanders, thinking about where it would like to live, and put on our detective goggles because they can camouflage really well. We found all but 1 that is still hiding in the woods, this will make for some deep detective work over the next few weeks.

Do you see the salamander in this photo? Photo: Audubon Vermont
Audubon Vermont

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Last week we found great passion in playing Park Ranger, so before morning meeting and to get our some energy we played a round. We were animals that live in Vermont, and some of us were super-fast!

We then ran up to our bench circle where we went around sharing our names, pronoun, and our fun question was “what do you think pickles smell like?”, answers ranged from, pickley, sour, dilly, like vinegar, etc. Once every shared we got down to business planning out our day.

After snack we got on our water boots and headed to Beaver Pond! We were all thrilled to explore the pond and wetland area in the sunshine. Some of us worked on a dam that was started last week, others explored the ponds edge looking for leeches and newts, and a few climbed on the rocks in the wooded area. We found 3 eastern newts, 2 leeches, and 1 snail today, along with a yellow flower that is known as colt’s foot, and there were a number of turtles out basking on logs in the pond soaking up the sunshine too.

Beaver Pond sure is muddy! Photo: Audubon Vermont
Photo: Audubon Vermont
Photo: Audubon Vermont
Photo: Audubon Vermont
Red Eft making it way back to the pond it came from to spend it's life as an aquatic eastern newt! Photo: Audubon Vermont

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After our exploration we worked together to put the game camera up in a different location looking directly at the pond. We picked a tree with a nice branch ledge to rest it on. We cannot wait to see what we capture next week!

After our time at Beaver Pond, we were tired, hot, and hungry, so we sat down to rest and fuel up. As we ate our lunch I read a story about ants, and I sure did learn a lot from the book myself. I learned that new queen ants have wings and they fly to a new location to build their ant city and once they lay eggs for the first time, their wings fall off! Also, all of the ants in the ant city, moving dirt, bringing in food, are all females too!

We were close to the end of the day, so we wrapped up with a few rounds of Park Ranger and then circled up on our stumps and shared our favorite part of the day. Many of us said Beaver Pond was the favorite, and I can see why, there is so much to do and explore there, it’s hard to not enjoy it and have fun.

Next week we have a special extended day from 9-3, be sure to register in advance!

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