Yesterday (Friday) was our annual spring field trip to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is owned by our local university and is a place where we take our city-dwelling students to experience nature. We go on a nature walk through the woods, visit the barn to feed the animals (donkey and sheep) and go to the pond to see any wildlife that may be out there during that day.
I have been on 16 field trips to the Nature Center, but none quite like our trip yesterday. It was chilly (in the upper 30s) and I had a student come to school in a sundress. A very cute sundress, but not the kind of thing one would wear for an outdoor field trip. We fixed that with a pair of sweatpants under her cute dress. We were off on our 15 minute bus ride to the Nature Center.
We had a great guide, Mark, who started us out seeing some different types of trees and teaching us to not touch poison ivy ("Don't be a dope, don't touch the hairy rope" and "Leaves of 3, leave them be".) Our walk lead us to the barn where we pumped water from a well into a bucket and fed the animals oats. Mark then surprised us by taking us upstairs where the kids go to play in the hay bales. They crawled through a hay tunnel and came out covered in hay. We also looked for bats by sadly (thankfully!) didn't see any.
Our walk continued to the pond. Mark informed us that we were going to feed the fish first. We went to a deck that overlooked the pond, and he gave each child some bread. The kids threw the bread in and were thrilled to see fish come and eat. One student threw his glove in- no bites on that. He thought it was funny- we didn't. Mark, being a nice guy, fished it out with a pole. We moved to the other side where we held tadpoles, crayfish and salamanders. The kids LOVED it! Our last stop at the pond was a little deck built that kids could lay on and look up close a the water. All was going well until one student tripped over his own 2 boots and landed himself IN the pond. Thankfully he went in standing up, however, felt over backwards and was wet from the waist down. He walk out himself and we sat him down to dump out his boots (which were full of water). I had Meg (student teacher) with me and all we could do was laugh. My little buddy laughed too, but had to be a miserable mess because he was soaked. Mark (and I) have never had that happen, but it certainly made for a memorable experience. I found out back at school, that it didn't seem that most kindergarten teachers had not had the experience either. I called my student's mom who at first was shocked, but in the end laughed too. At dismissal, a different student's older brother said "Who fell in the pond"...word spreads quickly!
I"m glad that adventure is over and am interested in what our field trip next week has in store when we walk to the Haines House- a stop on the Underground Railroad. Stay tuned...