Forest Classroom

Walkers, Hoppers, Waddlers, and Bounders OH MY!

Week 4 February 5 2024

The sun today felt amazing! It so wonderful to spend all day in the sun and snow. Our morning activity had us examining animal movement patterns to help us with our tracking. We learned that there are 4 patterns that animals typically move in, walkers, bounders, waddlers, and hoppers. We lined up tracks and then practices how those animals move. We also discussed what animals would be in each of these pattern groups. It was so much fun seeing everyone hop like a rabbit, bound like a weasel, waddle like a bear, and walk like a fox. This is a wonderful resources that Shelburne Farms has all about tracking and movement. Go outside and see what you can identify at home or school! 
Students with animal pattern cards
Learning how to hop like a rabbit or squirrel Photo: Audubon Vermont
Students with animal pattern cards
learning how to move like different animals. Photo: Audubon Vermont

In the morning, we enjoyed some field time in the sunshine. We noticed that the snow was hard enough to walk on without breaking through and we all tried to walk as far as we could without going through. Some of us started to build some snow/ice sculptures and others followed some hopper and walker tracks in the snow too. 

Students sculpting snow
Sculpting in the snow Photo: Audubon Vermont
Students looking at tracks in the snow
Trying to identify who left these tracks! Photo: Audubon Vermont

We then journeyed to Beaver Pond, and after accessing the ice thickness it was safe to go on. There were a few ice pops that happened, but that was due to the sunshine and shifting ice. The ice was at a minimum 3 inches thick. There was a cleared off section that was slippery and allowed us to fully ice skate on. We also spotted some cool walker tracks (we think fox) too. 

Students on Beaver Pond ice
Exploring a frozen beaver pond Photo: Audubon Vermont

After hiking up to the office for lunch we spend some time watching the bird feeders. We filled ones that needed more seed and also tried to feed them from our hands. The birds are still a little hesitant of this, but I think they are flying closer to us than ever before. After we spent some time sledding and exploring the backyard, we played some animal charades. The rules were we needed to be silent and only act with our bodies, we also needed to use the animal patterns that we learned this morning to show our animal too. It was so much fun to see our students hop like kangaroos, walk and dive like foxes, fly like owls, waddles like bears, and so much more.  

Students trying to handfeed birds
Trying to hand feed birds seed Photo: Audubon Vermont

After we enjoyed afternoon snack, we hiked back down to the clubhouse to finish our day there. We explored the woods together and we also made a plan for next week. We hope to put out our animal game camera next week, so we discussed possible places for it to go to catch the most diverse and interesting animals. I can’t wait to vote on a place and put it up next week.  

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