Friday, 5 June 2015

A day of wonder and fun at the Humber Arboretum!

We had a wonderful time visiting the Humber Arboretum. Our full day trip consisted of exploring the forest and the many things it had to offer. We also had the opportunity to learn more about ponds and the many creatures that make it their habitat.

The highlight of the trip for me was the forest exploration. The natural environment was breathtaking and allowed students to explore whatever they wanted. We had a wonderful guide that explained many features of the forest to us, and was open to answering the students' many wonder questions. It seemed that there was an expectation that students be around the guide listening as she informed us about things. But I noticed that students were so excited to explore things on their own; stopping frequently that I decided to give students the choice of following the guide if they were interested in what she was showing, and/or exploring their own fascinations with their parent group leaders. The students were looking so closely and noticing such detail in their findings that it was difficult to stay as a whole group. This seemed to work out very well. Students wanted and needed to use their senses and were so motivated to investigate when something caught their eye. There was enough freedom to explore on their own but still gathered as a group for important things our guide wanted us to notice. I thank our guide for being so flexible with us and allowing the students to seek their own interests. They had wonderful questions and our guide was knowledgeable in answering them for us. She was very impressed with how engaged the students were. 

Being able to explore things freely allowed for so many inviting and interesting things to be studied and shared with others who were noticing different things. There was no need for extra materials to entice students. The forest was one big provocation with infinite possibilities to discover!

Look closely at the many things students found fascinating along the way!

We made it! 

 On our walk to the forest, a mother skunk carrying the baby in her mouth! 

The wonder of it all! Look up! What do you see?  

Students stopped many times as they found interesting discoveries! 

Students noticed some trees were cut down. We were told they were old and diseased. New ones were planted.  

A highlight, especially for me! Look carefully...what do you see in the hole? 

How big is this tree? Let's measure it!   

Trying to push the tree over but it's too strong! 

J. K. noticed this peculiar feature on the tree. Our guide told us to look at the bottom. Seems like an insect started eating it. 

We saw a few of these on some of the trees. We learned they are QR (Quick Response) Codes. If scanned with a mobile device, it give you information about the tree. 

Look closely up in the tree! He was sleeping and didn't even hear us! 

Learning about the river we saw. 

J. K. and M. O. noticed that the tree was cut and had lines on the inside. 

A ginormous worm! 

Happy children! They just broke out into skipping!  

E. E. documenting his experience. What created the hole in this tree?  

What better way to explore and learn about this tree than to go through it, feel it, smell it, touch it! 

K. W. seemed to enjoy her experience! 

Students noticing another creature as we crossed over the ramp. 

"What's this?" O. S. Our guide told us it was a fungus growing on the dead tree. 

Another great way to explore a dead tree this big! 

Our guide found a caterpillar!  

Running, skipping, jumping! I've never seen the students so happy and uninhibited!

The second part of our trip was learning about ponds. It was a bit more structured but involved enough to support students' curiosity and allow them to investigate creatures that live in the pond with a hands on approach.

We learned that this is duckweed. It is a food source for some birds, fish, and ducks. 

Looking and listening... 

What do you see in the water? Look closely! 

Looking at creatures we scooped up using our nets. 

A Ramshorn snail! 

Using the nets to scoop us some creatures to investigate. 

W. E. documenting his pond experience.

Experiencing nature in such a way creates memories that last a lifetime.

Thank you Humber Arboretum for the wonderful trip!

Also, a big thank you to all of our parent volunteers!

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