Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tree dust and BIG Animal Prints!

Wow!  Those are big animal prints! 

On Monday my tiny treks class found large animal prints in the mud next to the first little bridge at Farrel McWhirter Park.  So I downloaded a bunch of images of possible large animals and their prints to have The Outdoor Preschool kids help to figure out what animal they might be from.

We had a neat time learning about animal prints.  We checked out and counted how many toes the animal had.  Could we see claws?  Yes!  That probably means not a cat.  I have to say I was a little relieved that it probably wasn't a cougar.  A large coyote?  Maybe.  Definitely not a bear.  Everyone was very attentive and watched and listened carefully to the information and comparisons to the photos I brought. 
 
After our lesson on animal prints we hiked until we came to on of the kids secret spot.  As the kids ran under the trees they were excited and shocked to see that there was a new dead tree down in the stream.  We searched the area until we found the tree stump it came from.  As we examined it we found the inside of the tree had turned to mush!  The kids were eager to dig their hands into the sawdust middle of the tree.
They were all walking around with this soft, smushy decomposed tree dust and squeezing it into shapes with their little hands.   We talked about how this tree wasn't a healthy tree and we observed that bugs had been eating the tree as well.  We wondered how the tree had gotten into the stream from the stump and when it came down.  Maybe in the last storm?

Who knows what wonders we will find next time at The Outdoor Preschool?




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