It was a beautiful day on Saturday as the Forest Trackers met at Wrangler! Our morning began with a few different games including awareness-building “Flinch Master,” the fast moving “Foxtails,” and the altogether fun “Oh no! I’m Poop.”
After much play, the Forest Trackers met together to sing a song, speak out their gratitude, and share nature updates from the past month. When asked about signs they had noticed alerting them to the arrival spring, the Forest Trackers excitedly created a long list: new buds, daffodils, hatching turtles in Hawaii, nettle shoots, chickweed growth, more sun, and miner’s lettuce.
Ari told the story of the spring she became a turtle mother while rescuing eggs and doing research on snapping turtles in Acadia National Park, Maine. Excited to continue searching for signs of spring, the Forest Trackers split into choice based groups. Steph led a native plant wander. Her clan stopped to observe, sketch, and learn new species. All members of the group made it down the to beach and back-up–an awesome and challenging trek that provided great views through a variety of forest habitat
The remaining Forest Trackers learned about essentials to survival and the importance of making shelters when lost. We traveled about to find a good shelter site with an abundant supply of sticks and leaves and split into four groups to create. The Forest Trackers began by building a skeleton made of a long ridge pole with many rib sticks. One group experimented with their design using stumps than Y-sticks to prop their ridgepole off the ground. Another group used two ridge poles to create a wide shelter that five people could sit under, and one group choose to build a shelter in a tree. With a strong foundation set, the teams interlaced hemlock whispies and downed branches, and began piling up leaves. Debris is important in creating a shelter that is warm and dry. Leaves, pine needles, and sticks provide dead air space for body heat to get trapped and keep all inside warm. The tight debris huts were built to keep two to five people warm and dry and needed over two feet of leaves to get the job done. The students pulled together to collect all they could while still taking moments to snack, talk, have fun, and notice signs of spring.
At the end of our day, all the students climbed into their shelters to endure a “rainstorm”. Over two water bottles were poured on the debris shelter and not a single head, toe, body, or nose got wet! The clans came back together to share skits and play a final game of Nutty Squirrel.
We hope your Forest Tracker had a great day exploring.