Thursday, 19 July 2012

Club Day. The Nature Version. Volume 1, Issue 2

There is trash in our world, and we want to help our environment right?
That was the proclamation from Jaelyn that started our day.  And it seemed appropriate given that today was Nature Club day.  It felt like it was a success.  It would have been even better if it wasn't sweltering outside and those poor little ones weren't melting.  But they were good sports, and seemed to have fun.

We made "story staffs".  This was an idea published in Taproot magazine's Issue 2 :: Paths in an article by Maya Donenfeld.  (I know, I know.  You've been seeing her name a lot in this blog.  She's just got some really inspiring ideas.  Give us a couple months and you'll be seeing other names, I promise.) 

What is a story staff?  Well, it is essentially adorning a walking or hiking stick with items found on a hike.  The item serves as a reminder of the hike and, hopefully, can help the owner share a story about that particular hike.  The stories our children today may tell could be something like, "You remember when we went to Nature Club and it was SO hot, and we cleaned up the park and found treasures, then we started to climb trees in the park.  Then we put the treasures on our sticks"

Our prework from yesterday was cutting the hiking sticks to a good length for 5 and 6 year olds.  I read somewhere that an adult's hiking stick should be 6 to 9 inches above the elbow.  It looked like somewhere between the elbow and shoulder, so that's where I measured them out, using my daughter as our model.  The sticks, by the way, were our first dumpster dive find.  I had planned to use them for another project, but they were just perfect for this one.  After the sticks were cut, my son and I shaved the bark off the lower part of the sticks using my husband's trusty pocket knife.  My daughter then sanded them and finished them with a concoction we made last winter.  Last night and this morning, I sewed and put the handles on the sticks.

And we really did pick up garbage and find treasures in the park.  The clean-up idea was Jaelyn's, and it's a good one.  The treasures we found included feathers, pine cones, flowers, grasses and leaves.  It was kind of tricky to get some of the items to stay on the stick the way the children wanted them to, and I hope for their sake they stay.  It wouldn't be too much of a story staff if all the story reminders fell off!

While I really shouldn't be, I'm amazed by how much I've learned just by organizing activities for the Birds of Prey and Nature Clubs.  I've used a chop saw and pocket knife for the first time in my life, or at least my adult life (and I still have all my fingers!).  I've learned about bird calls and markings and habitat.  I've learned about the children who have joined us.  And there is still much more to learn.  I doubt the learning will ever stop.

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