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  • Writer's pictureAmber Monroe

Hands on Nature

Fall 2016 Miss Cheyenne, Miss Amber, & our lil naturalists Over the past few semesters I have had the privilege to teach an after school enrichment program in one of our local schools. Typically, we teach in a classroom and then trot around their campus for an hour or so. It is always fun and we are always learning something new. The last 4-weeks I have been working alongside Miss Cheyenne with our two classes of 1st through 5th graders. It’s great. We observe the types of birds around their school (mostly the differences between a crow and a raven) we guerrilla garden aloe in secret locations, play games, ask questions, find lizards, talk about our habitats & what makes a habitat healthy & whole, we hold pelts of wild animals, and take extensive notes on all of our observations. One of our students was quoted exclaiming, “Miss Amber, this is just the best nature class I’ve ever been a part of!” If a human could melt, I would’ve. Despite the rave reviews it has been a dream of mine to get our students here, to camp and to take them birding, hiking, bunny watching, and share all the things with them. Well, dreams do come true! This last week was our first opportunity to invite our students into camp and it was more fun than Miss Cheyenne or I could’ve imagined. At the beginning of the 4-week program we gifted each of the students with a wooden cookie name tag, a notebook, a pen, and an explorers bag for collecting litter or treasure. The notebook has been such a great tool for us. Although some of our little explorers aren’t the most confident in their writing skills, they would spend time sitting in silence, observing, and writing/drawing what they could see. As we walked around this past week we sat in Coyote Brush and helped each other see the bunnies, we found the smallest mushrooms, we saw an Acorn Woodpecker for the first time ever, made connections between the school and camp's environment, we kissed the biggest Douglas Fir tree we could find, and we took 2 hours worth of notes. I tried to capture some of the moments but this is just a mere glimpse into the true magic of walking hand in hand with curious minds. So thank you to the parents who shuttled our little naturalists back and forth. Thank you, young naturalists, for exploring camp, for tracking animals, and for being the best class Miss Cheyenne and I could ask for. Can’t wait for the next one! 1,2,3 GET YOUR HANDS ON NATURE!

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