by Don Culwell

Tuesday, May 12, found Julie Nelson’s 5th graders from Southside Bee Branch at South Fork…8:45-2:15. The day began with a walk from the front kiosk along the trail to the cabin…stops along the way pointed out the opportunity to “read nature” by listening to sounds of the forest (birds, wind, insects, mammals, lizards, etc.) as well as keeping a keen eye out for any animal life or interesting plants.

Further along at the cabin was an orientation for the day’s activities before groups of 10 or so led by docents headed out on the trails or began their study at tables beside the cabin. Students were challenged to use math in some application in the out-of-doors, such as calculating the average height of forest trees of an area, calculating the leaf area needed for a butterfly larval population, or the use of floral formulas to identify flower families. Noon found students diving into their lunches…the whole class anxiously hiked to the water fall, all-be-it a short one due to the increasing rise of the lake, running to the end of the slab rock bottomed creek flowing with a rushing current alongside a glade of vegetation that grows in the shallow, glade soil.

With the day’s outing over, it was time to board the bus for return to campus, but not before a wrap-up of the day’s activities noting points of interest, and an invitation to return.