Week 7 – July 14-17: Amazing Animals!

The Beaver Ponds is a magical place to make forts, discover special creatures, find ancient fossils and make new friends!

Eagles were paired with Owls to study animal skulls. They had to decide, are they predator or prey? What do they eat? How’s their sense of smell or hearing? Then they would share their discoveries with the rest of the group.

Animal pelts are interesting to examine and touch too!

The Espanola Wildlife Center is a great place to see birds that you might not normally see.

Friday was a fun day of exploring the Santa Fe Ski Basin without any snow. The creek that flows down Easy Street is a great place to cool off.

July 7-10, 2014: Tremendous Trees and Biomimicry!

We had a teeny, tiny group this week with some big energy!  We played games, did intros and talked about Biomimicry (big word!) at Fort Marcy before we headed off to the Big T for our adventure.  We hiked, ate, played capture the flag and enjoyed the Tremendous Trees all around us.  We played a lot of Frog Detective and got a little wet  – lovely!

Tuesday took us to Tsankawi where we stayed dry, despite the downpour in Santa Fe!  We found pottery shards, arrow heads and obsidian.  We read a Native American story about how humans came to be on earth.  We hiked, imagined life here, and explored caves –  enjoying a little escape from the heat!

Wednesday: Rio en Medio.  We talked about more examples of Biomimicry at circle.  On trail we played Meet-a-Tree and A-Mia, made leaf boats and fairy homes (Owls).

The Eagles did a big hike to the waterfall and even had time for games along the way.  It was a splendid day to put your head under ice cold water, if you dared!

Thursday: The Beaver Ponds brought us a new and unexpected friend – we found “Muffin” a sweet, sweet dog wandering on the road.  We called the owner to no avail, and called Animal Control.  The Owls played at the trailhead while waiting for Muffin to be rescued.  The owner finally came after lunch!  Meanwhile, the Eagles hiked around the pond and played Camouflage and Capture the Flag.  Afterward, we scooped up the (recently freed!) Owls and headed to a new waterfall across the road.  FUN!

Wilderness Skills Campout! June 27, 2014

The first Mountain Kids family camp out was a great success!  I am so proud of the campers for making and sleeping in their own shelters!  It was an adventure in sleep, just trying to keep caterpillars out of any exposed orifices, and dodge the tree debris that seemed to fall all night long. We had one camper who had never camped before, and did so in her own shelter, 200 yards or more away from Dad!  Awesome.

We ate like kings and queens (great potluck everyone!) and topped it off with a campfire and s’mores, of course!   Thanks to everyone who came and made it a success!

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Wilderness Skills! June 23-27, 2014

The week began with some basic safety tips and ended with the Eagles (7-10 year olds) sleeping in shelters they built themselves!!  For at least one camper, this was her first EVER campout – SO COOL!!

Below is a rundown of our daily adventures.  There is a separate blog post for the campout.

Monday Adventure: Norski Trails: Preparing for a Hike, Shelter Building, Stop and Stay Put (what to do if you get lost in the woods), Buddies, staying together and Sit Spots!  A busy and fun day!

Tuesday Adventure: Rio en Medio: Identifying hazards (including poison ivy in real life!:), Bats Eat Bugs (song), Fire Keeper, watercolors, Yucca Rope making, and a huge waterfall to cool us off.  Great hike, fun day!

Wednesday: Ski Basin (Owls) – Maps and Orienteering, How to use a Compass, Magnetic North versus True North, Landmarks, Mapping your Hike, How to use a Topo Map!  The Eagles went to Carl’s Meadow, but the visual memories are only in our minds. 🙂

Thursday Adventure: Norski/Winsor Trail:  More Shelter Building, Nature as a Resource, Ropes, Knots and how to tie them, and the many uses for (your very own!) Bandana! 🙂

Friday: Bonus Adventure!  Fun hike on the Winsor Trail!

 

Dirt, Rocks, and Clay! June 16-19, 2014

We began the week by learning about each other, camp rules and a Rock Song about the three types of rocks: Sedimentary, Igneous and Metamorphic.  Our adventure took us to Deer Creek where we got to see some great examples of sedimentary rock and talk about how it formed.  We collected special rocks for painting the next day, and had fun hiking and getting wet in the pools (Eagles) at Deer Creek!

Ditto for the Owls, except they explored different pools and played games!

Tuesday: We began our day with a great game of Park Ranger and some Rock Painting!  We sang the rock song and did a Dirt True and False before heading up the mountain.  The Eagles did a HUGE hike up to Raven’s Ridge!  Nice work, Eagles!  It was chilly, so we had to stay moving to keep warm!

The Owls also hiked along the Winsor Trail to a beautiful meadow where they played rock games and explored.

Wednesday: Galisteo Basin Preserve.  Morning games and working with clay were followed by a quick stop in Galisteo where the mosquitoes were out and biting – one of the drawbacks of all the lovely June rain!  We quickly aborted this location and found some great dirt, rocks and clay to explore at the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

Thursday: Tsankawi.  Our final stop for Dirt, Rocks and Clay was the amazing ruins at Tsankawi.  We talked about volcanoes and made a human volcano at Fort Marcy before we headed out.  it is always impressive to see the remains of the supervolcano that erupted and is now the Valles Caldera.  We found pottery shards and obsidian and arrow heads on our hike to the caveates.

 

The Secret Language of Birds! June 9-12, 2014.

The Secret Language of Birds is a new theme this year, and one which we LOVED!  We talked about “what makes a bird and bird” by playing a True and False game with our bodies.  Once we arrived at the Beaver ponds, everyone received their own bird behavior checklist and we talked about why birds perform each of the behaviors.  We acted out the behaviors and had the campers guess which one we were doing. Before setting off, each buddy pair received a pair of  binoculars to use during our hike.  It was awesome to witness the kids focus and interest in finding birds and deciding which behavior they were engaged in.  We saw lots of birds, some animal tracks, and found fossils as we hiked around the entire pond.

On Tuesday we ventured to Deer Creek after a story about birds and games at Fort Marcy.

The Owls (5-7 year olds), hiked, played, did sit spots and worked in their nature journals.

The Eagles did a big hike all the way to the pools where they had a chance to cool off in the icy cold water!

On Wednesday we talked about the five different voices of birds and the kids had a chance to act out the voices and talk about why birds will use each voice.  We compared some of these to human behavior (i.e. juvenile begging!).  On the Winsor Trail we had the opportunity to hear the bird language in real life and made educated guesses at what we thought the birds were saying to each other, or to other animals in the forest.

On Thursday we talked about some common birds and played games to learn what they are. Our adventure was to the Wildlife Center where we got to get up close to owls, hawks, eagles and some small mammals including fox and bobcat.  It was fascinating to hear the stories about how the animals got there and how we can help keep them in the wild.

Owls Explore Amazing Animals (and more!:) June 2-5, 2014 (5-7 year olds)

Hello Owl Families!  If you read and enjoy the BLOG, please let me know…. write a comment, or send me a quick note.  Constructive feedback is also appreciated!  BTW, any of the images below can be enlarged and viewed as a slideshow by clicking on them.  Enjoy! :~) Katie

Monday: Before we took off for the mountains, we played games, we learned names, and made a group contract (rules about how to have fun)!  We snacked and buddied, and then loaded up for our adventure at the Big T!

The Owls hiked and paused for lunch and play.  We talked about animals of New Mexico and played animal charades  and frog detective.  We got animal names and got into our roles as we listened to the forest and tried to think like our animal.  We had story time and snack time before heading back to the Adventure van and Fort Marcy!

On Tuesday we hiked along the Rio en Medio.  Before we set out, we played a game where we learned and practiced various animal gaits.  At circle we got to examine the skulls of various forest animals of New Mexico and thought about how certain traits aid their survival. Some kids drew animals using the Ed Emberly books.

On the trail we played “Stalk”, drew in our nature journals, played in the river, explored the forest, had fun, got wet, and found wondrous things!

We learned a song called Bats Eat Bugs on Wednesday.  It’s a great reminder that “nothing out there wants to eat you, nothing out there wants to make you it’s meal!”  We looked at Animal pelts and paws today and talked about each local animal and some if it’s characteristics.

Our adventure took us to the Ski Basin where we found out how cold that water really was by dunking our heads!  It was silly and felt great on this hot summer day!  We played the Habitat Web game and learned how everything in the forest is connected and depends on one another for survival.  We pressed flowers, found insects, sang songs, and got dirty.  A super day!

Thursday: We were busy as little beavers today!  We learned about Beaver adaptations and dressed up some unsuspecting children to illustrate them.  We hiked along the Little T(esuque Creek) and tried our hand at beavering, a.k.a. dam making.  It was hard to make the water stop completely, but we sure slowed it down, and had fun working together in the process. I wonder how beavers need to work together to build their den?  We played some (other) team building games and made scrolling animal stories.  The End ~ of a(nother) and (FUN!) week.

Eagles are Animals! June 2-5, 2014 (7-11 year olds)

Hi Eagle Families!  If you read (or just view) and ENJOY the BLOG, please let me know. Write a comment below, or send me a quick note.  Feedback of any kind (constructive, of course!:) is also appreciated. Also, any of the images below can be enlarged and viewed as a slideshow by clicking on them.  Enjoy! :~) Katie

Monday: We really took off this week!  Before we flew to the mountains, we played games, we learned names, and made a group contract (rules about how to have fun)!  We snacked and buddied, and then loaded up for our adventure at the Big T!

At first building forts, then playing games to build awareness of our presence in the forest.  How to be quiet and sneaky like an animal (Fox Walk) while playing games like Capture the Flag and Camouflage. Then getting quiet to create sound maps to focus on all the natural sounds of the forest.  Did anyone hear a stick crack?  What could that be?

Tuesday the Rio en Medio waterfall was our goal.  Before we set out we played a game where we learned and practiced various animal gaits.  At circle we got to examine pelts and paws of various forest animals of New Mexico and ponder how certain traits helped them. Some kids drew animals using the Ed Emberly books.

The hike to the waterfall was challenging, but the reward is always great. It was hot, and the refreshing mountain waterfall makes you forget that in a hurry!

We learned a song called Bats Eat Bugs on Wednesday.  It’s a great reminder that “Nothing out there wants to eat you, nothing out there wants to make you it’s meal!”  We looked at Animal Skulls today and noticed how different features help animals survive.

We hiked up to Carls’ Meadow from Aspen Vista – a great place for lunch, a good game of Capture the Flag, and a Habitat Web Game. 🙂

Thursday: We were busy as little beavers today!  We learned about Beaver adaptations and dressed up some unsuspecting children to illustrate them.  We hiked along the Little T(esuque Creek) and tried our hand at beavering, a.k.a. dam making.  It was hard to make the water stop completely, but we sure slowed it down, had fun, got dirty, and learned to work as a team in the process. I wonder how beavers need to work together to build their den?  We played some (other) team building games and made scrolling animal stories.  The End ~ of a(nother) (FUN!) week. 🙂