Thursday, June 6, 2019

Survival in the Wild

Students in Mrs. Moats'  English class read MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, a book by Jean Craighead George, in which twelve year old Sam Gribley runs away from home to live in the mountains. In order to survive, Sam constructs a shelter, finds and stores food  and water, and even trains a wild falcon to hunt for him.

After finishing the book, the sixth graders "ran away" in the school's Outdoor Learning Lab. They were divided into four groups, given a few tools, and challenged to build a shelter, find edible food,  carry water and create a fish hook from sticks and string.

Daisy works on building a cup from Skunk Cabbage.

Tessa and Hannah show off the fish hook they made and the string they twisted out of grass to catch a fish.

Zachariah works on constructing a shelter that is rainproof.

Tessa shows off her meal of dandelion blossoms.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monarch Season

(Photo credits: Zalea)
This year our STEM class tagged monarch butterflies in the Outdoor Learning Lab. We tagged males and females. We also grew milkweed in the OLL. To tag a butterfly you catch it. Then you take it out of the net very gently. After that, you press the tag on the back side of the wing. You have to be careful that you don’t touch the inside of the wing. Then you record all of the data.  After you complete all of those steps you have successfully tagged a butterfly.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Late July

The WILD Trail is full of life in July.

The bluebirds hatched and will be flying in another week.  How many do you see here?

The Monarch butterflies have discovered our milkweed and laid their eggs. It's possible that this is the generation that will begin migrating south to Mexico. 

July has been a rainy month and lots of animals have been trecking through the wetland parts of the WILD Trail.  What tracks can you spot here?

And, someone's been playing with the bones in the bone pile.

Flowers in bloom right now include:

Blue vervain



Monkey flower

New York iron weed



Also noted but not photographed were Culver's root and Northern bugleweed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Flowers in July

The WILD Trail is full bloom.

The trail leading into the WILD Meadow

While all the flowers are beautiful, some are invasive, especially Canada thistle and wild parsnip, which are both visible in this picture. The parsnip is the yellow flower and the thistle is the one with downy tops.

Other flowers blooming right now include;

Common St. John's Wort

purple clover


Virginia rose

Joe Pye Weed

Blazing Star Liatris

Swamp milkweed


Queen Anne's Lace

Deptford pink
Ox-eye daisy

purple milkweed
 In addition to flowers, some creatures are enjoying the WILD Meadow including
White tail deer

American bluebird

an unknown snail

Late June, early July is also the time for invasive control. We are spraying Autumn Olive right now and expect to have to do it again next year.

The method

The result

Friday, June 22, 2018

Winter 2017-2018

Students  each picked a spot to photograph and journal about, noting changes in the Outdoor Learning Lab throughout the year. Cold weather didn't phase us.

Extreme close ups  of interesting plant forms in the winter.

Evidence that animals use the Outdoor Learning Lab for  shelter.....

and for food. Look closely. Can you spot the gnaw marks left by mice as they harvest calcium from our bone pile?

When the weather was too bad to go outside, we worked on other projects.  These painted rocks have our blog address on the back.  We will distribute them throughout Virginia. (click on Painted Rocks tab above for more info)