Friday, November 30, 2001
Adventures in Nature program excites Carlisle kids
What animals live in the woods of Carlisle? How can we view the world as they do? Fourteen Carlisle kids, grades three, four and five, participated in the Adventures in Nature class for eight weeks, generously sponsored by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation. Each session began with a walk through the Conant Land, conservation land behind the Town Hall, led by Susan Vecchi, a teacher-naturalist from Massachusetts Audubon's Drumlin Farm. The group visited Castle Rock, found crayfish, spiders and other insects in the pond, explored the woods and practiced experiencing the world as the animals do. "They taped our thumbs!" said Lucas Anagnostopoulos, "and we tried to do things without thumbs like opossums do." On another walk half the group wore wax paper blindfolds and, guided by partners, tried to see the world as skunks do. During the beautiful autumn days the class would also play Native American games and gather material for animal habitats.
Animal of the week
Each hour-long class ended with a visit from one of the native animals that may be found in Carlisle. "The animal of the day that I most enjoyed was the Great Horned Owl," said Daniel Cox. The animals are permanent residents at the Audubon's facility, having been injured in the past and not able to live in the wild. The children were not allowed to handle the animals, however. Other visitors included a skunk, baby mice, a mallard duck, an opossum, a broad-winged hawk, eastern milk snake, turtle and even some non-native Madagascar hissing cockroaches. One parent, who refused to hold the cockroaches, was very pleased to learn they are not living in our woods. The children kept nature journals in which they sketched the visiting animals or scenes in the woods.
Conant Land perfect for class
Assisting in the class were Carlisle Conservation Foundation board members Marjie Findlay and Sally Swift and Carlisle Recreation Department member Laura Cox. "The kids were great," said Vecchi, as she packed up the baby mice, "and this is one of the best sites for this after-school class." She hopes to do another class in Carlisle and the children hope more classes will be held in the future. "Education is part of the mission of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation," said Findlay on her end-of-class questionnaire. The children, staying at the class until the last possible minute, clearly enjoyed their eight weeks of nature education.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito