Notes from the Naturalist Week 13:The Nature Preschool at HCMA

The beauty in days like today, are the challenges. It was raining and cold, in the woods it was a little bit of a slippery obstacle. But when we announced that we were headed out to our gathering area in the woods, all we heard were cheers of happiness. I waited, thinking oh how this might end….we have been away from school, out of routine and busy with the Thanksgiving holiday. We had some slips, trips and falls but still the challenges, were so few. I suppose, if you hit rewind, just a couple weeks back, we might be looking at a different picture. Progress. Simply put, it has been our progress, our movements, small at times, have put us in a good place to welcome this uncertain time as we edge closer to knocking on WINTER’S official door. And the challenges….well….we still have many days to come and they sure do help us all grow!

Warm children are happy children! And thanks to the parents of our amazing little naturalists who sent well prepared children, we spent close to two hours outside today. This is a huge deal considering, it was raining, the temperature hovered around 32 degrees and there was spotty ice and snow on the ground. Adding moisture in the form of rain can really do some of us in during the winter. We talked about how much fun it was to be outside and how playing under the trees this morning, helped to keep our clothes in a drier condition than if we played out in the open rain. An adaptation perhaps? We even took the time to snack together huddled inside the wood shelter. Sitting down to eat outside is only possible for well prepared and layered children. I mark today as a success in the otherwise challenging weather conditions. 

From afar you might compare our journey settling into the seasons in the same way as the animals in the forest. As each week passes we discover a little more about Animal Adaptations as we work on the question: What Do Animals Do in Winter?  Last week we talked about “huddling”.  White Tailed Deer yard up.  “Deer gather in "yards" composed of evergreen trees, often on a south facing slopes. They take advantage of less wind and shallower snow, sharing paths, which reduces their energy exertion” (  Eastern Wild Turkeys, gathered in flocks will congregate in stands of hemlock, pine, and other softwoods when the ground gets covered with a powdery snowfall. "Softwood stands provide mostly shelter, as the trees will hold snow in the canopy, and there will be less on the ground for the turkeys to contend with” (Northern Woodlands). Today was a great day to review where we left off, while continuing the journey as we learn about each of our spirit animals in winter. 

For more information on Animal Adaptations:

Jennifer MacDonaldComment