Caroline Colesworthy co-instructs Earthroots Forest Kindergarten program with Jeannie Lee & Meg Hiesinger. Caroline’s Blog gives you a glimpse of the magical days of Forest Kindergarten.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Casper’s Hot Springs, Cleveland National Forest
Wednesday March 21, 2012, Upper Newport Bay
We started with the standard bunch of American coots, mallards and a lesser egret, and soon were greeted with the fish hawk right overhead: osprey with a head of white and streak of black. We went on our adventure walk, no frogs, but I caught a crawdad on a string with a piece of smoked salmon. 10 legs, oh my. Some saw a fearful pinching foe, a few recognized dinner. I let the crawdad keep the salmon. We had lunch early, all of us depleted from the bright hot sun. Then we headed towards the woodland for a story and pretend fishing. We watched a red tail hawk hover just over our heads as we made our way into the coolness of the forest. Our story cheap nba jerseys characters learned about the Vernal Equinox, a time of fertility, and greeted new life in the form of a new baby coming. Celebrate! Special Blessings for those spirits who are coming to our circle, even now. And before we closed we had a circle of mamas and kids demonstrating the forces of the sun and moon on the tides. Oh, I get it!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, Treasure Island & Mermaid Beaches, Laguna Beach, CA
Our day started with a cool cloud cover and a gentle surf and closed with boisterous sunshine and big booming waves. Everyone left a little wetter than they’d intended to get, sandy, and contended (though many a little over-ready to nap). We are so grateful for our world-class tidepooling opportunities here in Laguna Beach, seeing carpets of sea urchins, about five sea stars, bigger than the biggest papa hands, tiny sculpin, sensitive anemone, skittery crabs, opaleye fish, and a small pod of dolphins making their way North. The children in our story learned about the delicate balance between sea urchin, kelp and sea otters. During quiet sit we all had a chance to observe pelagic birds (pelicans, terns, gulls) and their hunt for fish in the churning waters, diving like big rocks being thrown form the heavens and heaving up fish bigger than their beaks. Then we concluded with a planting of grass seeds for natural Equinox/ Easter baskets to celebrate the return of Spring and the fertility of the Earth. With this group of parents, one in postpartum absence and several of us nursing at any given time, that fertility is palpable and obvious. Give thanks!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012, San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Only those native to Orange County would not have had to double check the date today. It was so warm the children were unable to keep their clothes on and the precious songs birds didn’t ever stop singing. We saw double crested cormorants, white pelicans, turkey vultures, a yellow-throated warbler, white crested sparrows, mallards, Canada geese, American coots, and unidentified hummingbirds. We felt the triangular shape of the tule that provides so much habitat in these wetlands. At quiet sit we caught a grasshopper and watched the water rippling at the edge floating bits of sticks and tule. In this week’s story we went with Anders to the beach at low tide with his Grandmother who saved a few sea stars, because every one matters. And at play we tested our speed by being bunnies darting down holes past wholesale jerseys hungry coyotes and vice versa.
Wednesday, February 1, Silverado Canyon
Monday, January 9, 2012, O’Neill Regional Park
L is for Limpet, who can be seen in tide pools when the new Wild moon is in the sky with the sun- a moon we can’t see, but we know is there by the low low tide it creates. Grace learned that the beach is a wonderful place in the winter and that the humble limpet (the keyhole variety of which looks like a tiny volcano) is her favorite creature because it can be found at even moderate tides and is not so common as the barnacles and muscles. Lastly, we made Saur Kraut, an ancient and dlicious method of preserving the harvest for the cold winter months without the use of electricity.
Monday October 24, 2011, O’Neill Regional Park
Today found us enjoying cool weather and mostly overcast skies. The woodpeckers were not flying all over the skies or peck peck pecking like mad. The silence allowed the crickets’ song to predominate during quiet time. Today was a great day for finding things. On the trail we found toad scats filled with earwig exoskeletons, coyote scats dripping pink and seedy from prickly pear fruits and regular brown ones furry and bony- one with squirrel fur, another with rabbit. A coyote gourd (like a miniature yellow pumpkin), a deer’s leg bone that the children readily identified after last week’s deer encounter. We found a dented stink beetle and an owl pellet holding an entire rat’s scull. And the tobacco tree’s hundreds of tiny seeds were an enchantment that some could not escape. One child even got personal with the poison oak and learned the cold water and soapy truth, hopefully to no lasting Kalahari: consequences.
G is for Grub- the Long-snouted Acorn Weevel’s grubs. She lays her eggs in the summer while the acorns are green. Once hatched, the larvae (grubs) eat the winters acorn and have 5 growth spurts (instars) before the mature acorn drops and the grubs make their way out the hole where they burrow into the soft earth and pupate for up to two years. Our story’s band of adventurous children learned not to bring the holey acorns home and not fault those who do- we all make oversights or lose focus now and again. But working together gives sweet results- especially when the reward is acorn pancakes with maple syrup. Oh yeah.
Monday October 17th, O’Neill Regional Park
Most of the sycamores are golden and preparing for a rest. Many of the children seemed to be on the same page. The woodpeckers and squirrels however are busy busy. Our wander led us into the forest and out again where the nopal grow. Their fruits are deep crimson and quite inviting. Cocheneal decorated our faces and I let that be consumption enough. Also the Eucalyptus bark is pealing pealing and quite appealing to young collectors.
F is for Finch. We look forward to the return of these bright Canadian characters to our winter yards.
We found a nightcreature out place- a Jerusalem Cricket-its strong rear legs actually for digging not jumping. Also known as Potato bug and Nino de la Tierra, my words on its chomping jaws allowed it to go completely unmollested. In quiet sitting time we all heard the 9 taps of woodpecker and another hiding game left us in giggles.
Monday, October 10, O’Neill Regional Park
Monday October 3rd, O’Neill Regional Park
“In her dream she saw the bears dancing around the blazing fire and feasting on the salmon and honey the elders had offered. She danced and cheap mlb jerseys played and cheap mlb jerseys rolled around with the furry bears. As they danced Audra could hear and feel the earth’s heart beat, as strong as her own mother’s when she was in her womb.”
D is for Dance. We left our big D in the creek bed. Today we practiced our animal forms- weighty bear, quick squirrel, dangerous rattlesnake, and hopping raven.
Stalking the Drum & “C” is for Coyote
Photos by Sarah Teo
Monday September 26, 2011, O’Neill Regional Park
” They walk up to the first tree, Thalia feeling the rough flaky bark. They searched its limbs- no humming bird
Monday September 19, O’Neill Regional Park
Today was as warm as was pleasant without a moment of discomfort. The creek bed was dry as a bone but we made our own creek and jumped it like agile deer. The breeze was loud with the activity of woodpeckers, robins, crows and ravens. Red-shouldered Hawk called so frequently that everyone got a chance to know her better. Owl must have been about- we found a large rat scull in a pellet near our quiet sitting spots. All those tiny teeth! It was hard to get to lunch today with all the fat brown acorns strewn about and a good hunger on. They seemed to be shouting, “Gather me! Leach me! I’m delicious!” I checked in with others and I was not the only one who heard this.Today’s story was “B is for Bees” and we saw some holes in sycamores like the kind that housed the hive in our story. We also pretended to get stung by bees and make quick poultices with plantain (Plantago Minorus). We closed with Blindfolded Drumbeat. The children proved themselves to be able trackers in the making. I could not escape their eager ears. I noticed a few children pushing the limits of their comfort zones today.I am so blessed to be participating in their growth.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012, Reilly Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, CA