Spring has finally arrived at Birches and we have all been eager to get back into the woods to explore. Earlier this week, despite some rain, Kate Walker and Katherine Parisky ventured out with the 2nd and 3rd Graders for an initial exploration of a vernal pool nearby. Everybody came back later that morning a bit damp, but beaming, eager to share their discoveries. The group returned with a container full of eggs, yet to be identified, and hurried to get our aquarium set up to house our new class pets. The younger students excitedly joined in the conversation about potential animals that would grow from these eggs.
Eager to get back to the vernal pool with the whole class, we set out this morning with boots, buckets, and some nets. With hushed excitement, we arrived and split off into mini-groups, quietly spreading out in hopes of finding some interesting critters. Some of us hunted for salamanders under rotting logs, while others trudged along the edges of the pond. You could hear happy exclamations of "Ohhh! I think I found eggs!" and "Come over, we just saw a salamander!" The outing required the students to be incredibly patient and mindful of the spaces around them. Their persistance paid off. One group found a newt, another discovered an injured baby frog, and to top it all off, one student noticed a fairly large snake sunning himself on the edge of the pool. After much careful observation, we think we've identified it as a northern water snake. Quite an exciting find!
After an exciting morning, we headed back to school tired, happy and hungry--both for our snacks, as well as another trip out to the vernal pool sometime soon!