Friday, April 2, 2010

Wetlands Field Trip

Thursday we went on a field trip with some home-schooled friends to a wetlands area
about 40 minutes from our home. The girls have been involved in a co-op class with 5 other families on Wednesday mornings. Several of us moms attend a Bible study and the rest teach a class to the 18 kids. The past few weeks they have been learning about wetlands (characteristics of and the plants and animals that call it home).
Yesterday we were able to experience the wetlands hands on. The kids learned about insect activity in the pond. They were able
to use nets to pull up the tiniest creatures. They learned about migration by becoming birds and flapping their wings to get to their nesting or feeding spot. Unfortunately for Emily, she became the first bird to experience the loss of enough habitat (new subdivision, improper chemical use...) and became a dead bird. She was shocked, but a good sport and was able to assist the leader as a "ghost". Finally more habitat became available (conservation efforts, good rains...) and she was able to became a baby bird with a friend as her mommy.
The kids received a lesson in how to use binoculars, and were able to use them as we drove and walked through the wetlands viewing many varieties of birds. Ashley experienced a little too much hands on education about the clay soil when she and three other kids became stuck fast in the mud at the edge of a pond. They kept losing their shoes (which were so covered
in mud, I couldn't recognize them), falling down and eventually had to be carried out of the muck by the leaders. (The first thing she did when we got home was take a bath---she didn't even greet Sammy first!) Ashley was a little unnerved by it, but I told her she provided us great entertainment (I was laughing hysterically) and a good story.
The leaders of our field trip were wonderful. They loved nature and were excited to share with us. You can tell how passionate someone is when they see a piece of scat (poop) on the ground, put on a glove, and go through it to show us what was eaten, and therefore whose scat it was. We found fox scat (who had eaten a black bird--feathers, and a lizard--a scaly leg), and river otter scat (shells, and crab legs).

To find the girls in the pictures: Emily is wearing a fluorescent yellow sweatshirt and Ashley light blue.

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