Eco Explorers Rock Mother Goose

Who wouldn’t want to spend the day in the woods with a whole gaggle of 3rd graders? Of course, Mother Goose jumped at the opportunity to chaperone the field trip! The sky couldn’t get any bluer if it tried, and the sun shone happily on our bus ride out to the Morton Arboretum. Excitement overloaded the bus as we neared the entrance to the area’s largest tree museum. We unloaded our nearly eighty kiddos, and then the crowd control experts arranged us in our appropriate groups with our knowledgeable and helpful docents. Our group of fifteen tator tots, including my dear AnnaRose, hiked off into the forest, into the woodland fully ablaze with autumn. We were here to learn about different ecosystems and the inhabitants thereof, and we were not going to be disappointed today.

Now Mother Goose has some experience with nature, being able to identify several species of trees and also birds and bugs. But this was an experience in “Outdoor Education” which is highly technical and very sciencey. Our fearless leader, Mrs. Becky, rushed us to the first learning opportunity under a canopy of maples and oaks, talking all the while about pine forests and deciduous trees and giving us little clues for remembering the names of all these trees. Did you know that the Sugar Maple has a “u” in its leaf design, whilst the Silver Maples have “v” in their leaf outlines? And then there are White Oaks with “w” in their leaves and Red Oaks which are full of pointy pins on their leaves. And the Sycamore Tree has a white trunk, making it look sick, and that’s how you remember its name! All very interesting stuff to Mother Goose and most of the young eco explorers in our group.

But there’s always a few young eco explorers who think that the woods and forests are places to play! Imagine! Some of the boys and girls were actually running off the wood chip path and into the “wild”! Oh…my…gosh… And there was the little fellow with autism who had never been on a field trip before and was trying so hard to get it. And that was a challenge for us grownups to meet and beat. Oh, but mostly they were all very good young ‘uns, and listened very carefully to Mrs. Becky’s directions.

We learned about The Producers (not the movie…) and The Consumers (not the shoppers…) and Decomposers (not the song writers). We learned how important each category is to the health and the continuity of the ecosytems. Our first task was to take metal spoons and go digging for Decomposers. (Other names for decomposers include critters and creepy crawlers.) AND WE FOUND SO MANY OF THEM!

AnnaRose was the first person to find a slug, so Mother Goose held the slug in her motherly hand whilst the children hunted and dug in the composted soil, and rotten logs and fallen leaves for more bugs and worms. And ohhh did they find some doozies! There were soon many roly polies in my hand with the slimy slug! And then they found the grub worms which started out all nice and rolled up in pretty brown balls, but soon opened up in the warmth of my hand showing us their full glorious length and numerous legs. And then the earthworms found homes in the hand of Mother Goose. I think the boys and girls were impressed with the peace and tranquility on the face of Mother Goose as these decomposers mingled and interacted on her hand.

Just keep smilin’ Mother Goose. Just keep smilin’…

From the woodlands, we marched into the prairie lands where we spotted both an owl and a hawk. We heard many crickets chirping but couldn’t land one. And from the prairie to the wetlands we hiked full speed ahead as though we were late for an appointment with the turtles on the logs and the damsel fly nymphs. The chorus from “This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land” comes to mind as I write this report:

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

I think old Woody Guthrie would have been proud of these Eco Explorers on this perfectly lovely day in America. I know Mother Goose was very proud of them, and now I think I’ll go wash my hands just one more time.

Bee blessed today!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dianna
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 14:19:11

    Ewww. Better you than me, Mother Goose. I couldn’t have handled all those squiggly things in my hands. ( I will, however, pick up a frog without hesitation. And have never had a wart.)
    You’re such a good mother, Mother Goose!


    • Natalie
      Oct 12, 2011 @ 14:31:14

      Thank you, Dianna! And I could never hold a frog in my hand — all their squishy stuff and their bony shoulders and arms and legs. Ha ha better you than me!


  2. Bunn
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 06:57:39

    I could hold most of the items listed but if someone was brave enough to wrangle a centipede believe me I would have been back in the bus!!


    • Natalie
      Oct 13, 2011 @ 10:51:52

      lol wrangle a centipede. This one little girl was so fascinated with the bugs – she had a great big one crawling all over her hand also. “Look! He likes me!”


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