Archives for the month of: May, 2013

Two fun-filled classes this week!

The preschool group  hunted for the mystery plant of the day…..  the fern.  The fiddleheads have pretty much all unfolded into  beautiful fans of leaves.  I had this urge to make crowns of fern for all of the kids,  as I had done in the past for my daughter when she was small, but  we were hunting!!  Success!!  After a hike up and down the hills of Avalon and through the gate we found our mystery plant.  Along the way we ran, and smelled sassafras leaves, avoided poison ivy and ran!!  So free, so fun!

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Our older class of energetic Kindergarten through 3rd graders were ready to take on the “long” hike to the upper pond at Avalon.  Who knows what we will find?  Adventure awaits.  But I can tell you this that none of these kids came tired but I know they left full of fresh air, tired legs and things to dream about!

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Now we know there are two snapping turtles that like to hide under the rock bridge and also lots of green frogs which are hard to catch,hiding in the iris!   More to discover …. but it will have to wait!!!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and do some exploring!!!  Even if it is turning over a rock somewhere!  Peace

Also, Welcome to  Emily, a summer intern working at Avalon.  The kids love her and she welcomes the outdoors just as I do!!  Yipeeeeee!




A gentle stroll in the woods of Avalon.  Ten Senior Citizens ranging in age from 90 to 100 years came by bus to visit with our 4th Grade Girls Scouts today.   To see such amazing adults paired up with enthusiastic  young girls made my heart glow.  The weather was lovely and the birds sang as the sun dappled the undergrowth. Friendships were formed.100_7704

 No matter what  our age, we breathe the same air and process the joys of nature to that positive place in our minds and hearts.  It is free and it is available to all those that are willing to partake.

These pictures are just snapshots of the day out in the woods.  But the experiences these girls shared was priceless.  To walk with people whom they are learning to understand and not be ambivalent about helping creates young citizens who will be compassionate towards an older population.

Part of our mission in this project is to create a joint art show between the Girl Scouts and the Seniors to be held at the the Senior’s Residence.  The girls worked with many of them last month to create nature collages and today they assisted in the Seniors taking nature photos which will be displayed at the show.  The girls have also been doing photography on their days without the Seniors.


Mildred, one of the seniors, said she had to take this photo.  She insisted that it was a fabulous tree!! How she wished she could climb it.  Her stories continued about how much she loved to climb trees when she was little and the girls shouted that they LOVE to climb trees too.

I can’t help but feel that the intention for creating this park was fulfilled today and each time we share it with others.

Peace,   Sue

Spring is teaming with life and we were lucky enough to be out in the woods of Avalon yesterday!  So many things to explore, admire and look at closely.  Fascinating teeny tiny inch worms, onion grass, mushrooms  and of course the pond.  Nestled among the trees there is this special pond which is home to all sorts of unfurling ferns, Jack in the Pulpit flowers, grasses, trickling water, frogs and ……  da da daaaaaa  a large snapping turtle.

Lovely pictures taken by Winnie!!!


The kids knew there was a snapping turtle in the pond and I did not.  But as an educator I’ve learned that sometimes kids can teach me something.  On their own they set out to catch this mysterious turtle.  Their method.  Tying onion grass to a long stick.  They were having a blast.  I however, as an adult had my doubts.  Ha ha …. I thought it’s harmless fun.

Well little did I know there WAS a big snapping turtle hiding under a rock.  All of a sudden Winnie  shouts out there’s a turtle!  We all try to fit on this rock bridge to catch a look and sure enough there was the wise old turtle hanging out.  It was substantial.

 Shame on me for being a non believer.  They removed their bait ridden sticks and we waited for the water to still itself.  There it was.  How joyful!!

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It’s a great thing to appreciate children’s ingenuity.  Sometimes I think we overlook it because as adults we are so busy.  (doing what I sometimes wonder)  So the next time your kid tells you something that sound a little out there take the extra time to listen. They may teach you something.

Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.

Jane Goodall


ImageTime to be free…. ImageImage Yesterday the Natural Patterns class spent the afternoon in the garden releasing some ladybugs.  Actually 2500 of them.  I was so proud of the kids as they let the bugs crawl all over their hands.  Now one screeched or ran away. The bugs had friendly hands to climb onto.   

I think it was the first time in my life i was ever covered in bugs.  They tickled our hands and sometimes our necks.  Pure joy!  

After doing some research about where to purchase them I decided on the   I ordered them on Friday and they arrived on Tuesday.  When the mailman delivered them he said he was creeped out the whole time he was driving around with them in his truck!!  Ha ha!  

It was a great day ….. we watched a video showing a time lapsed life cycle of the ladybug (or lady beetle as some refer to it) and the kids were amazed to see what they look like in the larval stage.  

I hope these bugs decide to stay around our garden and make some more ladybugs to keep all the plants healthy!  

 More fun pictures……   


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Today was our day to get our seedlings out of the hot  house and into our garden!

It’s a big day full of “adventure” as Lola tells her parents.

Today was planting day so no hike.  I did  hear one of the children say, “no hike today Mom?”

That is sweet….. but we just can’t do it all

First we worked to weed and wake up the soil.  Rake and dig, rake and dig……. mother and child. ♥

Next onto to planting our sugar snap peas and basil.  Carefully pulling the seedlings out of the plastic soda bottle containers.  Dante says, ” the roots look like pasta! ” Love that imagination!!!


Everyone had a turn to water!  Oh yes we did get some water on us too!

Oh why not?  It was a deliciously sunny day!


It’s a great time to start a garden, big or small with your child.  Start with some herbs that are easy to sprout in a flower pot.  Easy peasy…..  explore the roots as Nettie’s mom did at home with her…. plant dissection!  She said some did not survive.  Eat what you grow…. can’t get more natural than that!!!  Much love to our little gardeners.   Sue

What a wonderful sight to see these girls working along side adults who have so many ideas and memories to share. On this day many of the girls learned that you can work together with people who are of a different generation.  Initially tentative about coming to the Senior home, they left feeling excited and more self assured.

Image As humans we all share the love of nature and have our own personal experiences with it.  That is part of what shapes us as individuals.  This project of creating a nature collage, gave the girls an opportunity to take some time to share with others. The results were quite inspirational.
Image This project is a part of Avalon’s “Generation”Program, which I began this year.  My hope is that these growing girls will share their love of the natural world with residents from a Senior home and grow to appreciate that no matter what the age nature is something that brings us together and does not keep us separate.    ImageHere is the final project.  Lovely collages that will be part of a joint art show in June to be held at the Senior home.

Our next adventure is creating photographs at Avalon Park and Preserve.  We hope to have our new friends join us!