Thursday, August 8th: Hyde State Park!

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Today was the last day of Mountain Kids for this summer. Before heading out, the kids began with some playing tag while others created tree art.  We all learned about the different components of a tree by creating a giant, living tree out of all of us!!

After a snack, we drove up to Norski Trail for hiking and shelter building, but found that when we arrived it was simply too cold!  We headed back down the mountain to Hyde State Park, where we quickly warmed back up while eating our lunches in the campground at Group Shelter #2.

The Bobcats went with Jeremy and Ashley on short hike to a waterfall. They learned to identify spruce, fir, and ponderosa pine trees. Along the way, they saw a black widow spider eating a moth. Everyone learned some Spanish from Carmela and Nico today.  Thanks to the Venezuelans and their cousins for teaching us, and making us realize the importance of learning a second language!

The Otters played Frog Detective, Freeze Tag and Meet a Tree (They go out in pairs. One is blindfold and the other guides them to a tree. The blindfolded one must get to know the tree – by touch and smell. Then the pair walks to where they started, the blindfold is taken off and the child must go find the tree they had just met without seeing). Wrapping up the time in the woods, the kids all had the chance to paint or draw a leaf they had gathered or what they had seen during the day.

Thursday was the last day of Mountain Kids for the summer. We are sorry to see it end, yet delighted that another year of Mountain Kids camp has taken place with much magic, play, learning and sharing.

Tuesday, Aug 6th: Tsankawi

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Mountain Kids went to Tsankawi for the day. The Bobcats went on a hike to caves and petrogylphs. We learned about the history of Tsankawi and the indigenous peoples who once inhabited it. We found tons of pottery that the rain washed down, and were able to see petroglyphs very clearly because of the wet stone. We even saw a kokopelli and a hunting scene in the rock which would have been hard except for the dampness. We  played in a lot of the small caves.

The Otters did a short walk to the top of a mesa, bravely climbing a ladder en route. The Otters drew what they saw and enjoyed the sunshine while playing games.

All of us experienced stunning views, took the time to observe the rocks and the plants. As per usual, we ended the day back at the Children’s museum sharing stories of what we saw and experienced.

Monday August 5th: The Big Tesuque

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The first day of the last week of camp was wonderful! We started the day meeting our buddies and playing games with one another. Then we headed up the mountain to the trail.

The Bobcats went off on a hike to a shelter and a beautiful lunch spot where they played games (team building games and ‘meet a tree’) and learned about the different trees and wildflowers.

The Otters played in the river and then hiked to a nice spot in the shade for story time. After our story we talked about trees and split into teams to build shelters and look at the various big shelters already built with the aspens. We reflected on our trip and then ended the day working together as a group to learn a camp song called ‘a-mia.  We then split into buddies to play and then headed home for the day. Looking forward to another wonderful day tomorrow!

Thursday, August 1, 2013: Tsankawi

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This morning we planned to make paper and then go to the mountains, but it was cold and rainy so we changed our plans.  Instead, we headed off to Tsankawi where it is almost always dry and warm!

Tsankawi is a part of Bandelier National Monument and there is so much to see!  Petroglyphs, ancient pueblo ruins, caves, deeply grooved paths, pottery shards, really interesting trees, brush, cacti, and flowers. Each time we visit we have to choose among the many wonderful ways to explore this site. Both groups took different routes and hiked the whole loop.  On our hike, we learned a lot about the history of the land, the ancient pueblo people, and rocks and geology. It was such a treat to have such cool weather, since the heat and lack of shade at Tsankawi usually prevents us from hiking so much.

It was a great hike and a great day! The van home was full of sleeping children, and at the museum we all got to play with a parachute in the cool grass before going home!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013: Leonora Curtin Preserve

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Today we played tree tag at the Children’s Museum and then had a circle where we talked about how trees are used by people. We examined various products to show how trees are used in so many different ways.

Our adventure today was to the Leonora Curtin Nature Preserve, a 35-acre property owned by Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. It is located on the I-25 frontage road south of Santa Fe. We had a wonderful tour guide named Susan who showed us around and pointed out various flowers and trees including Lemon Verbena, Cat tails, Cottonwoods, Russian Olives, and Yerba Mansa.

We did pastel drawings of flowers and plants that we liked, we read books about trees, and we went on a beautiful hike to a pond. At the pond there were dozens (literally dozens) of frogs! Since this was so exciting for the kids, we played games like Frog Detective and What Time is it Mr. Frog? It was such a treat to be there and to see the wetlands.  Thank you to Susan and the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens for showing us around this beautiful treasure!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013: Ski Basin

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Mountain Kids went to the Ski Basin today for the theme of ‘seeing and being aware.’ We spent much of our time at the river. Throughout the day we also paid particular attention to safety, learning and practicing the acronym S.A.F.E.R. which is about how to stay safe on a hike (Stop and stay put if you get lost, Tell and Adult where you are going, go with a Friend, bring an Equipment kit, make sure you Rest).

We played different games that focused on observation and awareness. We tried to remember what our friends were wearing as a practice for observing our surroundings, and a great tool in case someone gets lost.  We focused on staying still in order to observe all the tiny creatures that we can find in nature, such as spiders and caterpillars. We also worked on paying attention to where we put our feet so we do not accidentally hurt our little friends!

We did a group activity called Build a Tree where we learned all the parts of a tree and how they work – from their hearts to their roots.

Of course, we had much stomping about in the cool stream waters. It was a very fun day of learning and playing in the mountains!

Wednesday, July 3rd – Rescue Animals at the Wildlife Center

We played some games and then had circle where Katie showed us pelts and skulls of local desert animals.  It was fun to feel the soft fur of so many animals (ranging from ringtailed cat to mountain lion!).

Afterward we had snack and then loaded up to go to the Wildlife Center.  This was wonderful. We had a tour and got an up close look at a Barred Owl, a Red Tailed Hawk, and a Peregrine Falcon.

Afterward, we walked around and saw all kinds of animals. Highlights included a bald eagle, vultures, falcons, a grey fox, bobcats, pygmy owls, and a turtle! We then chose an animal to go and draw, read stories, had closing circle, and played some games!

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Week 3. Day 1. Super Hikers and Wee Wanderers Among the Aspens!

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Monday at the Norski Trail!*

*Apologies to the LITTLES of whom there are very few photos from this day… we are working on resolving some technical difficulties! Stay tuned for lots of LITTLES at Tsankawi!

After a morning of meeting, playing, and making our group contract at the Children’s Museum, we snacked, filled water bottles and used the potty before we loaded into the Adventure Vans.  We were heading to the cool, moist Aspens for the day!

On our way we sang and listened to stories, which gave way to hiking and listening to birds.   Blue sky and fluffy white clouds behind towering white giants, green leaves whispering and giggling.  We felt happy and alive!

LITTLES!  We did listening activities with our buddies and talked about how important listening is for storytellers and hikers. We talked about and came up with definitions of fairy tales, folk tales, and fables (and read examples of each). We hiked to a spot to build shelters and review the cardinal directions. We did the book binding for our picture books. Boy were we busy!

We LITTLE campers also incorporated lots of team building and ice-breakers into our day.  We played head-to-head, toe-to-toe, name games, and learned fun facts about each other.

We also chose our group animal for the week from three choices.  We chose chipmunks because they are SO cute, just like us!  🙂  We looked at pictures of chipmunks of the southwest and chose the “Least Chipmunk”  for our identity because they were the cutest.  We made our group call,  “Squeak!”

The BIGS hiked through the Aspens and found a perfect spot to stop for lunch.  We then split off and make shelters in small groups.  There were lean-tos, summer shelters and winter shelters.  We did a group Shelter Tour and talked about what each shelter would be good for: summer, winter or play.  Then we hiked on to a beautiful spot where we found oodles of CATARPILLARS!  We collected them (whether we tried or not!) on our arms, sticks, shirts and hats…

We also played Human Camera with buddies.  We found something beautiful for our buddy to “take a picture” of with their mind’s eye, then drew a picture of it for them.  It was nice to stop and look closely at the beauty all around us.

We did an activity to show how Aspens are all connected before hiking back to the Adventure vans for a relaxing ride home.

We chose our group animal for the week – the Black Bears. Rooaaarrrr!