The Secret Language of Birds! July 27-30, 2015

For Bird Week, the mountain kids all grabbed their binoculars and eyed the trees for some of New Mexico’s best birds! Venturing to the Beaver Ponds and Diablo Canyon, as we hiked we listened to all the different bird sounds. Throughout the week, we spotted many birds from sparrows, vultures, ravens, and hawks. Wednesday was a special bird learning day! In the morning at Fort Marcy, we learned about the five different bird calls: song, companion calls, juvenile begging, territorial aggression, and alarm. In five skits, we reenacted the bird calls. We also learned about the bone structures of birds. Looking at different bird skulls, we found that the bird’s beaks, eyes, and nostrils will vary depending on the bird’s nature. In the afternoon, we visited the Espanola Wildlife Center. There, we met many different birds, including a burrowing owl, an osprey, a bald eagle, and a barred owl.

Wednesday Bird Activities and Adventures Slideshow:

Hummingbirds Slideshow:

Owls Slideshow:

Eagles Slideshow:

 

Volcanoes Rock! July 20-23, 2015

For our rock week, we found many fossils, learned about the different rock types, and, most importantly, played in the mud! On Monday, we explored the rocky, fossil covered hills of the Beaver Ponds. After a large rain storm on Monday night, Tuesday became the perfect day to splash in the mud at Galisteo Basin Preserve. On Wednesday, we hiked through the iconic tent rocks and rock climbed up into a cave. We ended our week diving into the pools of Deer Creek. Mountain Kids Rock!

Hummingbirds:

Owls:

Eagles:

 

Archeology! July 13-16, 2015

For our archeology week, Mountain Kids had a blast learning about New Mexico’s past all while playing outside. Thursday was a great treat! We went to Tsankawi to explore the ancient pueblo. We climbed down into the old homes and told stories. In the afternoon we enjoyed a giant rain storm, taking shelter in the nearby caves.

Hummingbirds/Owls Slideshow:

Eagles Slideshow:

Natural Art Projects! June 29-July 2, 2015—Hummingbirds (5-6 year olds)

During our natural art project week, clay, grasses, flowers, leaves, and rocks were our featured materials. The week’s adventure started with a last-minute location change, when our original location was infested with stealthy mosquitoes. The Galisteo Basin Preserve proved to be an excellent alternative, and the kids enjoyed collecting clay, which they then turned into little pinch pots. Tuesday was spent keeping cool at the Beaver Ponds. After discovering a particularly deep spot in the river, we all enjoyed taking a dunk before heading back to work on nature collages. On Wednesday, surrounded by croaking frogs and soaring dragonflies, we made grass headbands, bracelets, and rings by the pond at Las Golondrinas. We ended our week flying our handmade kites and painting flagstone with rock paint. The hummingbirds made beautiful natural creations all while enjoying the splendor of the outdoors.

Amazing Animals! June 22-25, 2015 — Hummingbirds (5-6 year olds)

Looking at skulls, pelts, and tracks, the Hummingbirds learned about the amazing animals of New Mexico. On Monday and Tuesday, the heatwave pushed to the shade of trees, while we got to look at real animal pelts! Wednesday was beaver day, where we dressed up a counselor and brave volunteer as beavers to learn about the many adaptations beavers have that help them survive. Then we headed to the Beaver Ponds, where we learned more about how beavers impact the environment around them. Thursday was a special treat, when we got to visit the Española Wildlife Center, a place that takes in injured animals and rehabilitates them before re-releasing them to the wild. We got to see a number of birds, including a Red-tailed Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Osprey, chatty Magpie, Turkey Vulture and a hybrid Goshawk-Peregrine Falcon. Several of the kids got a treat when a handler took their Bald Eagle out of its cage, and were able to see it spread its wings. Once we finished at the Wildlife Center, we ran to Shidoni for a quick dip in the river to cool down before heading home.

Survival Hunting Tools! June 22-25, 2015—Eagles (9-12 year olds)

With their spears, bows, rabbit sticks, and deadfall traps, the Eagles have the tools to survive in the wild! On Monday and Tuesday we constructed our hunting tools. Lead by Matt Brummett, the eagles carved their tools and learned how to properly handle them. Using bagged hay targets, the Eagles practiced using their tools and even tried out Matt’s personal atlatl and bow and arrows. On Wednesday, the Eagles had the tools they needed to survive an overnight in the woods, and, in the evening, we learned how to make deadfall traps, enjoyed a game of capture the flag, sang songs while roasting marshmallows, and listened to stories about magnificent animals. On Thursday, after a hot oatmeal breakfast, we hiked to nearby caves and explored the dark caves with our headlamps. After this week of Mountain Kids, the Eagles have the tools to hunt for a scrumptious rabbit dinner!

Earth Exchange! June 19, 2015

Mountain Kids participated in an Earth Exchange project! Since we often adventure to many healthy and alluring places in our neighboring wilderness, Mountain Kids took the opportunity to give back to the earth by creating beauty in a wounded area. On Friday June, 19, we went to the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. The Dog Park has a scarred history. In the 1940s, the area was used as a Japanese Internment Camp, and later it became a landfill. Today, trash can still be found around the park. Collecting the found trash, from old tires and cans to bricks and wire, Mountain kids constructed a trash bird. We named the bird “Freedom to the Land” in hopes that this wounded land will one day soar with great beauty once more. This project was a reminder to us all to treat the earth with love and respect.

Bug Out! June 15-18, 2015—Eagles (9-12 Year Olds)

The Eagles enjoyed a week of bugs, hiking, and capture the flag! On Monday, we explored the Beaver Ponds, finding numerous fossils and making hematite face paint. Back at Fort Marcy, we set up our bug traps in the arroyo. Deer Creek was our destination on Tuesday, where we swam in the pools and scrambled up rocks. On Wednesday, we enjoyed a hike through the trees. We practiced our orientation skills, using a map and compass and by identifying landmarks. Bug week ended on Thursday with hiking to a gushing waterfall, identifying poison ivy, making cone and stick boats, and playing in the mud.