WEEK 1: Welcome Wander

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Howdy Chickadee Clan Families!
My name is Patrick and I have the privilege of getting to take the boys of Chickadee Circle out into the semi-urban wilds every week! I just moved to town this month after moving out with my lovely wife from the Pacific Northwest. We moved out there to study with Wilderness Awareness School in 2007 and have been having a blast playing in the woods and connecting kids to the world around them since then! I love doing what I do and I am very excited to work in and learn a whole new ecosystem this year!

Speaking of excitement, this group of boys is FIRED UP for this year! Due to some restructuring of how Feet on the Earth runs its afterschool programs, it looked like a bunch of 3rd grade boys who had been in Sparrow Circle the previous year would be too young for the program. (Which is now 4th and 5th Grade boys only) I understand the boys were pretty sad at this realization. At the last minute, the crew rallied together and I was brought in to run our Chickadee Circle with just 3 fellows! I am happy to announce that just in the first two weeks we have welcomed two more Chickadees into the flock bring our circle up to 5 kids!

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I knew we had a good crew on our hands when before we even left the school grounds, there were requests to share some Gratitude and have a sit spot during the day! We made our way over to the park to share some snack and gratitude and go over some basic agreements of how we want to be in a group. (Spoiler Alert: The keyword is RESPECT!)

Since it was my first time in the park, I had the kids lead me around to some of their favorite spots in the park. After sliding down a steep embankment and crossing the creek on a rope swing, we follow the creek upstream in search of some wild mint to wash the bitter taste of the Chokecherries we found out of our mouths. We were unsuccessful on that part of the mission but instead found a small stash of Wild Plums hiding! Yum, yum, yum! Being 90 degrees out, we were all too happy to spend some time splashing in the creek, skipping stones, trying to catch water striders or just relaxing in the water! Really enjoying the end of the summer time vibes.
After sufficient creek time, the flock wanted to climb a big fir tree. While our little Chickadees perched in the branches and had a sit spot, a flock of wild Black-capped Chickadees visiting and foraged in the same tree. Definitely a good sign! I was also extremely overjoyed to find and old friend from my own boyhood in NJ, the Eastern Blue Jay, to be a presence in the park!

One cool nature mystery we found was a dead rodent near the creek. Its body looked as fresh and fluffy as it would have on a live mouse. The decapitated head however was down the skeleton! Curious, indeed! The boys stashed it near a tree after examining it to check out next week.

Rodentia on a stick Rodent skull

After playing a fun blindfolded Ninja/Jedi type game, it was time to return the tired excited flock to their parents!

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