The trees give us so much!

Graced with another beautiful sunny day at Chautauqua, Robin Circle began our day with an exhausting game of tree tag. Katie Hummingbird called out to the Robins: “You’re safe if you’re touching a Blue Spruce!” Immediately there was a scattering of little ones, some racing right to the big pine in the center of the field, and others, unsure which tree was the right one, following the example of their peers to reach safety. Slowly, the tagger-team grew and the runners were turned to taggers. It was impressive to see the last girl sprinting to safety with 8 quick taggers chasing after her! After the tree tag had exhausted the girls, we gathered our snacks and sat in the shade to listen to a Feet on the Earth traditional story, the Peacemaker.

Munching on their snacks, the girls listened as Trevanna recited the beautiful tale of a young Haudenosaunee boy named the Peacemaker, whose teachings he spread far and wide to other Native tribes across the Northeastern part of the US and Canada. If you’d like to read a version of the story, click here. One of the peacemaker’s teachings is to have peace in your heart. During our Thanksgiving tradition, each of us shared something that makes us feel peace in our hearts. The girls shared many different things, including spending time with family, swinging on her swing, staring at the stars or the clouds, or hiking with a soft breeze. This sharing made us all feel peaceful as we agreed with each others’ sentiments.

After all that sitting, it was time for another game! We played Coyote Sneaks Through Camp, a fun game that was inspired by one of our FOTE staff-members, Cat. This game is played by creating a circle and choosing one person to be blindfolded. As soon as the blindfolded person is ready, they say go. Each of the others is a coyote, who must sneak around the “camp” and not get tagged. The blind seeker must use their deer ears to listen for the coyotes sneaking around them!

To finish off circle for the day, Katie talked about how all plants gain their nutrients from the soil, which is refueled by a process of decomposition by different organisms digesting plant and animal material. As we sat in the shade of Maple, Blue Spruce and Oak trees, we talked about how important trees are to our environment and our well-being. In order to give thanks to the trees, each of us created a small doll out of pinecones, leaves, pine needles, and other found items, and placed them at the base of a tree. This exercise is meant to bring ourselves closer to the natural world by acknowledging all that the plants bring to us.  The girls created many different types of dolls and thanked the Maple and Pine trees around us!

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Closing with a cheer of “Magical Trees!” the girls parted ways, excited for the week ahead and anticipating next week’s circle.

This week, ask your daughter about the Peacemaker story, her own strategies for spreading peace and feeling peace in her heart, and how she plans to continue to give thanks to the natural world!

Thanks to all the parents and guardians!

And thanks to the trees!

Arielle Nuthatch, Ann Spider, and Katie Hummingbird

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