The weather cooperated this week, so we did the activities that I had planned for the last Birds of Prey Club meeting. As we ate our snack, we talked about some of the adaptations of animals of the Arctic. The club came up with several answers, like the colour of their camouflage, their fur, increased fat stores, and the size of some animals' paws. Then, we strapped on snowshoes and took a short hike through the deep deep snow in the park by our house.
We found a little area of the park edged with bushes and gathered to play our first version of Predator and Prey. I asked the Club to name an Arctic prey and an Arctic predator, then they were off to play our birds of prey version of tag with snowshoes. Next, we talked about camouflage and we played a few short games of hide and seek, using two canvas sheets I had brought along as camouflage. I didn't have enough for everyone, but those who didn't have camouflage made for the bushes to try and blend in there. Lastly, we took off the snowshoes so we could play one last game of Predator and Prey - our animals this time were a moose and a wolf (who do not live in the Arctic, but do live quite far north and use different adaptations to survive harsh winters). If only these little ones had legs that were as long as a moose's - it was hard enough to move around in the deep snow with snowshoes, let along without them!
We did have a few rough patches during this meeting - whether it was hurt feelings or a hurt body - and everyone suffered. To get this group all on the same page of how we will treat one another, I will be dedicating the next meeting to behaviour, and yet I know that a lecture on how to treat one another won't be effective. I do know that the room is quiet when I read a book, so I will be researching animal social structure and behaviour to introduce these ideas. Even better, perhaps I'll see if Nicholas has any recollection of reading about these topics in the myriad of owl books he's flipped through. Maybe Nicholas and I can even write up our own stories if we can't find one that suits our needs.
Hmmm....now I'm starting to get excited about preparing for this next meeting!