Using our Senses & Finding Spring (April 23-27 2018)

Spring finally found us Monday morning!  The sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  There was a chill in the air to start the day so we wore our rainsuits over our jackets and decided to hit the trails in the forest area across the road.  We hadn’t visited this area since the fall and we were on a hunt for any and all signs of spring we may come across. We noticed right away that we may be overdressed for for the quickly rising temperature.  As we crossed the meadow we found all kinds of insect galls on the tall grasses and plants. We picked a few to get closer look and talked about the egg and the larvae that would inside, waiting to emerge as a bug of some sort.  We wondered why some were large while others were small.

We also noticed all of the new wood chips that had been left where so many trees had been cut recently. We took some time to examine them, feeling and smelling the freshly shipped pieces of wood.  Mmmm They smelled so good that we decided to bring some back with us!

As we moved along, we were really excited and curious about some water we came across.  It was just beside the trail and had tall cattails growing in it. We really wanted to hop in and explore it but we talked about how deep it seemed and what we thought the temperature might be like.  We discussed that it seemed too deep for our boots and we agreed that we didn’t want freezing cold wet feet so we opted to stay off to the side and observe from there together. We saw some things floating in the water that were little and white. They were all bunched together and some of us began to wonder if something had laid eggs there.  We really wanted to poke it with a stick but thought we better not in case they really were eggs.

As we made our way around to the side of the creek, the water was far more shallow. We grabbed some sticks and poked around, finding “seaweed” as we pretended to fish and really just enjoyed the sound of the water as it trickled down towards us over the rocks at the bottom and the feeling of the warm sun our faces.

We made our way up the hill and began peeling off our gloves and hats.  A perfect spring morning had come our way and we were hot on the trail of some kind of animal.  Tracks in the muddy and snowy trail at our feet had us guessing about some type of dog. Since a lot of people use this trail, we supposed it was someone’s pet who was leaving the marks behind. That was until we found something else.  It looked like dog poop but it was FULL of fur. Our brains went to work, trying to figure out where it had come from. Through observations and conversations with our friends, we guessed that maybe the dog tracks belonged to a coyote because we know that coyotes eat animals and that animal fur might come out in the poop. We kept our eyes peeled just in case we saw anything nearby but didn’t see a single thing.

We also came across some other tracks throughout our walk. Some were in the snow and some were in the mud but they were all the same… They had three toes like a bird but they were really BIG!  We thought back about the large turkeys we had seen in the neighbourhood and wondered if they were responsible for these large bird tracks.

Our walk through the forest had us smelling the air for different smells, hearing all kinds of birds around us and touching the moss on the large rocks we passed.  We were gentle enough not to disturb it too much but liked feeling it’s softness on our bare fingers.

We were sweating by the time we made our way through the trails and ready for water!  While we hadn’t brought our water bottles along, we decided that a good splash in a few puddles would hold us over.  That’s when we were greeted by two butterflies! We squealed at the sight of them, the first of the season for us. We were beyond happy to have spring amongst us as it touched all of our senses but we were ready for a good drink of water … and big lunch!

Wednesday morning, Forest Lisa came to visit with us and to teach us a little more about the signs animals leave behind.  We learned about animal track, eggs, poop (which we loved) and sounds that we may hear in our forest this time of year. She filled out morning with all kinds of great activities in the classroom before we headed to the forest together.  Have a look at her guest blog to see all of the wonderful learning we did together!

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