Saturday, April 23, 2011

Field Trip

During this last week I was asked to chaperon Anders' school field trip. It was to the Audubon Center of the North Woods, the authorizing organization for Brightwater Montessori as a charter school. It was an overnight trip with two days of classes there. Another father and I were in a "cabin" (lodge room) with four kids (supposed to be six, but two didn't show).

The kids (everyone in grades 1-4 went) were divided into four groups. Each group had two classes a day. Our group had Birds and Banding first. We saw the center's birds they had (most were injured birds that had no chance of returning to the wild that they were given to take care of and nurse back to health): an eagle, hawk, kestrel, some owls, a crow and a raven. The students
learned a bit about birds and were shown how the center bands birds and tracks them (they had caught a couple purple finches and a junco in their nets).

The next class was Rocks, Dirt & Worms. They got to look inside
some rocks, learned about soil and dirt and got to dig for worms in the woods (worms are an invasive species, not native to Minnesota) which were put in the compost piles.

That night everyone (including the other school that was there) had a session on Raptors--getting a chance to see an owl and a
hawk up close. After a campfire, the kids were in bed--and thankfully, our cabin fell asleep fairly quickly.

The next day our classes were Wolves of the North Woods. In addition to learning about gray wolves, the students learned about telemetry and tracking. Our group was split in half. One group was given a transmitter and hid in the wolves, while the other group tracked us with the receiver.

Our last class was called Ojibwe Walk. After learning a bit about the Ojibwe tribe, we hiked through the woods while the students were given some trees to identify. Our leader talked about how the tribe would have used the trees in various ways.

While it was a quite different experience for me (I used to be a program director
at a Bible camp), it was a lot of fun--great to get out in the woods and fun to see Anders with his friends and classmates.

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