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Gray Squirrels 2017-2018: Week 18- Adventures in Botany

After such focused compass and mapping work (which was still fun!) it was nice to have a relaxing day to explore our imaginations and play games. It was quite chilly so a fire was the first order of the day. We've been learning how to safely use tools, so anyone who wanted to try could practice using the hacksaw on some of the now-seasoned cedar branches and trunks that were harvested last fall to thin the forest.

We all worked together to build the fire and then took turns with a match trying to find the best place to light it. Everyone had a different opinion about where to place the match and it was fun experiment! We got the fire lit and had opening circle and snack.

After snack, we enjoyed working on different projects, including renovating the chipmunk village, bird watching and working on our whittling skills.

Stories around the campfire are one of our favorite after-lunch actives. Sometimes we tell stories and sometimes we read books. In preparation for all the spring plants that are about to start waking up, we read Shanleya's Quest by Thomas J. Elpel. The book tells the story of Shanleya, a young girl who goes on an adventure to learn how to identify plants using the Pattern Method. The book has a lot of information, but the story is so well told, we read the whole thing in one sitting!

After lunch and stories we played a few games, including Nutty Squirrels! This fun game is teamwork based and requires focus, concentration and trust. And other than laughing, no talking is allowed! Each team has to communicate solely with pre arranged hand and body signals.

We ended the day with a restful and relaxed Sit Spot followed by a special treat. Everyone got to put some damp pine straw on the fire! So much smoke! It was really exciting. While discussing the smoke and what was happening with the fire at that time, we had a good conversation about safety considerations when pine straw is put on top of an active fire, instead of how we usually use it underneath kindling to start a fire.

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