by Hazel Stark
Co-Founder/Co-CEO and Naturalist Educator
From November 2017 until early January 2018, a hardy group of Mountain View Elementary School students became “Forest Detectives” during an 8-part Maine Outdoor School after school series. For an hour each week, students explored, learned, played, and journaled about the forest lives around their school. To learn about the first half of that program, focused on mammals, birds, fungi, and bugs, check out our previous article here.
For the second half of this program, snow and ice accumulated, temperatures dropped, and new signs of their forest neighbors emerged. They looked for animal tracks and acted out the different ways animals move in a race that awarded not the fastest, but the most accurate representation of a given species’ movement. They identified evergreen trees and compared the differences between firs, spruces, cedars, and pines. They even spooked a partridge twice, identified snowshoe hare and ermine tracks, and modeled their forest landscape in the snow.
At the end of the program, all students reported that they had had fun, learned a lot, and wanted Maine Outdoor School to come back to their school!
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