Week Five: Nature Names and Awareness

Dear Hawk Circle Families,

Over the years, we have had the pleasure of watching your daughters grow in so many ways! Not only have they grown taller, but their nature connection has deepened so much more than we could have imagined!

Today we continued to deepen this connection with nature and continue to initiate the Hawks in their growth. On my first day with Robin circle over 2 years ago, we drew little slips of paper out of a hat that had different Colorado animals written on them. These names joined us on our adventures throughout the years. Today, as Hawks, we got to choose new nature names!

In hopes of helping the girls to connect more with their nature names, Pinar and I spent some time creating Nature Name cards that included tons of fun facts about each animal, and a picture or a track for each animal. We feel that this presentation of the new nature names will help generate more interest for the girls in delving deeper into their learning about our complex Colorado ecosystem.

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After we had a ceremonial drawing of the cards, we decided to increase our awareness by practicing a few techniques to help us be more stealthy and aware while we are in nature.

Pinar led this activity, teaching the group about what it means to have “Owl Eyes”, “Deer Ears” and how to “Fox Walk”. Many of the girls have practiced these awareness exercises at other Feet on the Earth Camps, so it was a great review for the group!

Owl Eyes is based on the owl, one of the most visually adept animals on earth. Owls have the ability to see all around them. When we practice Owl Eyes, we raise our awareness of our periphery vision by finding our visual boundaries. Using our hands, we found out just how much we can see when we shift our awareness from right in front of us to include our whole visual periphery.

Next, we practiced Deer Ears, which mimics the Mule Deer, with its huge, perky ears. By cupping our hands behind our ears, we realized just how much more we can hear! Not to mention it brings our focus to this sense, which in itself increases our ability to use it to our advantage!

Finally, we practiced Fox Walking. This is a method of stepping softly so as not to make any noise! Foxes not only are sure-footed, but actually have fur in between their toes which helps them to be stealthy as they stalk their prey or travel in the forest! Many of the girls removed their shoes for this exercise and practiced stepping toe-first, and slowly rolling down onto the heel. I could barely even hear the girls sneaking around me!

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After a game of Coyote stalks Deer, where we were able to practice our newly learned awareness exercises, we introduced Bird Language to our group. We’ve been especially inspired these last few weeks as we prepare for Jon Young, a world-renowned bird language expert, who we are hosting this weekend at Thorne Nature Experience!

To teach the group the five different voices of our bird friends, us three mentors, and a special guest, So, got a little bit playful and acted out each voice! The girls were so good at guessing just what we were up to as we played like birds! After they guessed which voice we were acting out, we got a little silly and translated each skit into the “human version!” This was pretty humorous for us, especially when displaying the Male to Male Aggression!

Here’s the human translation of the Companion Call:

 

The five voices we learned are:

  1. Song
  2. Companion Call
  3. Juvenile Begging
  4. Alarm
  5. Male/Male Aggression or Territorial

Finally, we concluded our day with a short “Bird Sit” where we encouraged the girls to incorporate their newly learned awareness practices while listening for the birds voices.

We hope the girls had as much fun as we did practicing all of these ways to expand our awareness in nature! Looking forward to seeing you all next Monday!

Best,

Arielle

 

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