Debrief - PA FOREST DAY in the LANARK HIGHLANDS, November 29th, 2019

Greet a Tree activity

We began the day with a fireside gratitude circle and ignited curiosity with authentic questions about the wintering birds. Where do the wintering birds find their food? What do they eat? Little people's eyes scoured the landscape and offered guesses of sunflowers still standing, thistles and common mullein (Verbascum thapsus...aka; hags taper or witches staff). The weeds, assist the winter habitat as host for insects to provide protein and/or seeds for finches, chickadees and downy woodpeckers. Mullein stands tall and towers up to 8 feet with soft fuzzy lamb-like ears at its base...a noble plant as we look up to this guardian of the earth.

The morning wander in the cedar grove led us down animal trails, where we spotted burrowed homes with doorways to the underground bound by a feathery white hoary-frosted mycelial network. Children spotted tunnels leading to sights unknown to anyone but the ground squirrels and other forest dwelling friends.

After much discovery and freedom to wander - we reached the destination for our silent group-sit-spot activity on look-out rock. With this mid-hike silent observation activity on look-out rock, eight children (4-7 year olds) kicked back and gazed up into the canopy waiting in silence for anticipated bird sightings and/or alarm calls.

An honor it is to experience the silence in the cedars with 8 children at my side.

Upon our return we checked in with the cardinal directions with lost-proofing questions about the landmarks found along the trail. We continued our walk down history lane on an overgrown logging road where we investigated a kiln and campsite that was left for ruin on this century old Lanark Highland homestead (1860). .