Archives for posts with tag: New York

Well it’s that time of the year again.  We’ve had over 64 classes total with all the age levels and we managed to strengthen our love and respect for nature.

I am grateful for ALL of these children and families that come to Avalon to share in the joy of nature.   As I look back at all the photos I’ve taken this past season I smile.  I think of all the littles guys  who held my hands as we hiked.   I think back to the lessons my older kids learned from other naturalists, such as Len who talked to them about why and how he raises pheasants and bobwhite quail on the grounds of Avalon. I think about the night hikes which were always met with excitement All of it was so  inspiring to them and it  confirms that I am in the right place in my life doing just what I want to be doing.

My overall goal with these classes has and will continue to be getting kids OUTSIDE.  I cannot express how important this is for the future of our lives here on this planet.  These children will always have these memories of frogs, trees, hiking  in their hearts, so hopefully they will own it and protect it as they grow into young adults and one day, parents (yikes!).

Not only that, it is so fantabulous and  healthy to spend time in the outdoors rather then cooped up in a classroom or watching TV.

So to celebrate,  our last class is always about roasting that cube made of sugar, the marshmallow!!!  Luckily we have a great fire pit at the barn!!  Also, Chris once again brought in his hot dogs to roast.  How fun and yummy!!!

Here are some crazy photos.  Enjoy and we’ll see you on the other side in March.  Peace out….. Miss Sue

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Our season is winding down here at Avalon and it was time for the kids to harvest their lettuce crops.  

I must say it was great to go from seed to plant to table!  That is the current rage after all !  

Anyway, it was time to pick the lettuce and pick they did, filling their bags with lettuce to take home to make a salad.

I included a salad dressing recipe that was easy enough for the kids to make with their parents. 

Here are some of the best shots…. taken by our fantastic intern Emily, who is on break from Gettysburg College.  We love her!!!!

Our Kindergartner group… getting down and dirty…. so proud of them!!!



Miss Mae 🙂



Dasi,,, always gentle … even with her lettuce!





Our energetic group of 1st – 3rd graders.  A curious and interested group of kids!!!


There I am… I think it’s my first appearance on my blog!!!  




Smiley toothless Hannah… today we compared all of the wiggly and loose teeth the group had!!





Silly Boys!





In the end I hope the kids will remember the time they grew their own lettuce and that it will encourage them to have their own gardens at home.  We are all so used to going to the supermarket to get our food but to actually have a hand in growing a part of your meal it is even  more meaningful!!!  Bravo to all these young gardeners.  My biggest question is who actually had salad for dinner????

Let me know!

Peace, Sue

Over the past two day I’ve spent with the Natural Patterns kids….  k-3 graders…. we talked of clouds, painted outside, looked at how the top of the trees roll up and down like a roller coaster against the sky, discovered spittle bugs hiding out in the fields. So delicious, every moment of discovery.  

Some of my favorite moments:

Zachary in the moment, painting his tree and clouds with wax paper as Mae takes a moment to lay in the grass with here eyes closed. 

Love the freedom.  Could you imagine if an adult was doing something then decided to just lay down on the grass in the middle of it all? A funny thought.  

Heads down in concentration….




Heads down working together to clean the paint covered plexiglass plates used to create their images.

Working together, standing in puddles, getting wet.  Involved…. thoughts focused.Image 

Heads down looking at these tiny red bugs that Thomas discovered…. focused on the red as they squish them with rocks.

So present in what they were doing…..  busy busy busy in the sunshine.






Heads down hunting and discovering spittle bugs.  Hiding amongst their butt spit!  What do they look like those nymphs?  How many can you find?  Hundreds… the more they looked the more they found.  



The downward gaze of these faces…. means they are inquisitive and engaged.  I am so proud of these young naturalists and can only hope that they continue to enjoy all that nature offers as they go through life.  Awesome!!!!



Well not really, but today the kids planted their pizza garden.  It is comprised of tomatoes, onion, pepper, oregano, parsley and basil. 

They worked hard to create the homemade separations for their garden, comprised of wood found in the pile of branches out back behind the barn.  But first we had to make the branches fit.

It was the perfect opportunity for all the kids to use a saw.  It was interesting to see how each child had their own level of tolerance for the effort they were willing to put into making a cut in the branch.  


 To me sawing wood seems so primitive.  One of the kids said, “get out the chain saw!”   No way!!!

 It is an invaluable lesson for each of these kids to know what it is to work hard at something. They are so desensitized to swords, guns and other weaponry from watching TV or playing video games.  But to actually hold something sharp and use it in a real way helps to  create a form of respect.    Most of them have never sawed anything before.   They did a great job and no fingers or toes were lost.


As a result they were able to divide their pizza garden into six sections with the branches they sawed.  Pretty darn good effort!  Then the planting and watering occurred.  I am so excited to see how the garden will grow. Wish us luck!!!


Hey it’s not the most perfect looking garden, BUT it is theirs.  So glad it is raining today!!!

Perhaps I’ll have to buy them a pizza for our last class….. their crops won’t be ready til the summer!  But it will be worth the wait.

Bravo kids!!!


I am grateful for every moment I spend with these kids.  They are excited by a fallen tree, collected branches from a broken down lean-to, the adventure of being high up above the ground.  It is as magical  as this photograph, this image that was a single moment, a collective group of breaths and laughs.  Gone forever but always here.  

You can have this feeling as a child or as an adult.  Just stand back or participate.  Leave the worries at the beginning of the path… for those moments you will feel joy, fear, excitement, curiosity.  “What was it like when that tree fell?” the kids wondered. That tree which has given us a place to live for the moment.


And the moment when Lola sees this thing up in the tree?  That moment when we can explore and wonder.  

When we can touch and feel life crawling upon our hands.  

Thank you dear children for making moments so important.  Our bills, our headaches, our worries can be left as we enter the woods to experience these moments.  

Take the time to make a moment or allow a child to show you how to live a moment.