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Gray Squirrels: Week Three - Bird Language and Fox Feet

Opening Circle

We started our Opening Circle this morning with a new song that mimics the calls song birds use with one another to check in while they're foraging for food. This was a fun introduction to a bird language discussion that would continue throughout the day. Ms. Kathryn then led us through a sense meditation where we noticed the smallest things that we could possibly hear and smell. After sharing gratitudes, and while having snack, Ms. Britt told the "Firekeepers" story about a young person who had to use her fox feet to sneak up on a group of giants called "Gazumbas" who were hoarding all of the earth's fire, keeping any humans from being able to use it. We challenged ourselves to use our fox feet throughout the day, and pretend that we were on a mission to retrieve fire from these greedy giants.

Games & Bird Language

Today we went on our longest hike yet - and on the way we played a few rounds of "Wildlife is Watching," a hiding game that challenges us to hide off trail where we can see the people walking by, but they can't see us. We finally arrived at an opening that we thought would be a great place to set up camp for a while. We played the "Firekeeper" game where we got to test out the fox feet we had been practicing. We then shared lunch in the shade under the pines, and had an in depth discussion about different types of bird language - song, companion, aggression, juvenile begging, and alarm. We talked about how, just like with humans, you can get a sense of what a bird is feeling by the tone of their voice, and these tones are like a network of communication, constantly sent throughout the entire forest, and listened to by other species of birds, and even mammals. As we were wrapping up lunch, Ms. Kathryn shared some persimmon fruit she had found on the land. We learned that ripe persimmon is very sweet, and unripe persimmon is so bitter it makes your mouth feel like it's "inside out"!

We also explored some other edible foods from the land and talked about the responsible ways to harvest food from the forest. 1) Always be 100% positive in identification and show the plant to a facilitator before picking it. 2) Ask the plant if it is alright to harvest. We use all of our senses to do this. If the plant doesn't look healthy or when we ask permission with an open heart and don't get a good feeling, we don't harvest. 3) Only take what you need and never take all that the plant has. 4) Express gratitude to the plant!

Forts & Fairy Houses

After lunch we spent some time exploring this new area, working on a fort, and building a village of fairy houses. While working on these projects, we learned about spatial awareness, engineering, and team work. The weather was so nice we could have stayed here forever! But the time came for us to say goodbye to this beautiful forest for the day, so we split into our clans and took different directions back to the Community Circle where we met to share stories and highlights of our days.

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