Monday, June 13, 2011

....and finally, a Nature Club Walk!

Our Nature Club had a wonderful morning at the Silvermine Dam last Wednesday when all the little ones became fisher folk for the morning.

Carla is looking quite serious here, but actually she has all the children captivated as she's about to take her Googly Fynbos finding eyes out her pocket to start the hunt for Fynbos.

The view of the dam. 

This is an awesome place to visit.  We started off here and walked around the dam to a sheltered spot way over there on the other side.  Can you see it?  It's just between those low bright green bushes.
Along the way the children spotted King Proteas, Ericas and lots of Restio reeds. These are pictures of different King Proteas we found: the top one is already dying but the bottom picture is a new bud about to bloom.  I never used to appreciate our natural flora before-spending more time around and in it has definitely helped me to appreciate it more.  I'm falling in love with the beauty of these plants more and more everyday.

As you walk along the path you pass some very interesting spots for having braais.  Some are right on the rock ledges just hanging over the dam!

Crossing the bridge we checked for any fish-but alas, I think the choppy wind was keeping them from surfacing in the cold weather.

This was an interesting find: an ant nest in the trees!  There were actually three of them filled with busy little ants going about their hard work.

We thought these were Red Hot Pokers-they look so much like the aloes which also flower at this time of year.  Nature providing us once again with those all important skills of discriminating similarities and differences.

Once we found our sheltered spot we all settled down to listen to the story of Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish.  Amazingly the fish we were hoping to catch are called Tilapia-according to internet sources it was the same fish that the disciples caught and the same fish that had the tax money in its belly!

And then it was time to fill up our buckets and wait patiently to catch a fish!

 A little bit of bread throwing to attract the fish.

 When you're too little to wait patiently for That One Big Catch you must find other fun ways to entertain yourself.  Water play-the best fun ever!

And if catching a fish is taking a little longer than you expected you can always get innovative and use the fishing nets as jump poles.

But what a great reward it was when that first (or those first) two fish were caught in one swoop of the net!

Soon everyone else was on a roll scooping them out of the water. With shouts of: I've got one! floating across the dam.

This sweetie pie is never going to miss out on a learning moment-but when you've had a hard morning's work exploring all sorts, a snug spot in prime view position, is the best place to be!

Absolute delight!  The wonder of discovery-such a blessing to be able to share these learning moments with all of the special children in our group.

And when you didn't have the patience to catch one of your own, you can always become the teacher of those younger than you.  Look Deeky, this is how you must hold it-very carefully, see?

I know that Nature Journals are intended to be drawn in on location, but we find that it's rather difficult to sit still and quietly draw when you've got all that nature to explore and your friends to share it with.  So if Jenna is interested in drawing in her journal when we get home again she either draws a treasure she was able to bring back with her or we find a picture to copy.  My goal, at the moment, is rather that I encourage a love for nature and an understanding of journalling her finds and thoughts.  This is her entry from our fishing experience:

She draws first and then we discuss what she wants me to write for her about the experience.