Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blue Jay Point

Today was field trip day and we visited Blue Jay Point County Park.  We had a lovely day for our program and it was nice to be able to spend time outside learning and the playing.  I was thankful to have some time to just chat with the other moms.  It's been awhile since we have had weather condusive to just playing and hanging out at the playground.

Our program today was on tree identification.  We tried this earlier in the week during our nature studies and I realized how very hard it was (for me) to identify trees without any leaves).  It was so interesting to hear all of the various ways that you can tell what type of tree it is without any leaves.  Bark, stems, and buds were all a big clue to the type of tree.

We split into 2 groups for our program.  The younger kids went first (5-10 year olds) while the older and younger kids could either play a game with one of the nature boxes available from the park or visit the education center.  My oldest two took Eliana with them so that I could focus on the program with the younger boys.  It was a lot of fun!

We stopped at various trees and looked at its features.  Like the musclewood with the trunk looking a little like a muscle.  They had lots of opportunities to touch the bark and look for details - and remember them later when we came up to other trees of the same variety.

Or the beech with red, cigar-shaped buds AND the leaves hanging on to the tree even though they were dead.  (This is the tree I picked up on today and hopefully will remember.  I figure that I'm doing well if I learn at least one new thing!)

We lookd at maples, sourwood, ironwood, hickory, holly and more.  We learned that the hickory has a "monkey face scar" where branches once were that help you to identify the tree.  They also discussed deciduous and evergreen trees.

The program ended with the children working in pairs with one child leading a blindfolded child to a tree to try to identify.  They then had to try to find the tree without the blindfold.

When we finished, the younger kids played a game in a nearby field (and I have no photos because my camera died) while the older kids went on their walk.  They went on a different path with more trees and a longer walk.  I listened into the beginning of their program.

They were in a picturesqe place in front of a pond.  (Don't look at the next picture if you don't like reptiles!!!)  I took some pictures of the group and then one of the pond.  I'm not putting in the close up for a friend that won't want to see it - but can you see what is on the log?  I thought it was a fake - a statue just for looks.  Turns out that it was real.  A snake that mimics a copperhead.  Lovely.  Thankfully we didn't see any on our walks.

Had to share at least one photo of this little cutie.

We briefly visited the educational center which was for the most part was very nicely done.  One of the exhibits was a little offensive (on a personal level) and sadly one of my children pointed it out to me.  Its was good opportunity to talk about how the world's view and God's view are sometimes different and that you don't have to believe all that you read! 

We stayed for a picnic lunch and several hours at the playground.  A lovely day.  Eliana had a delightful time playing with the other children and in the sandbox.  It was fun watching her.  We look forward to coming back another day.