Every week we’ll have a round-up of the news (and what’s coming up) in the Primary School’s Flying Deer Program. These are written by the fantastic employees from the Flying Deer Nature Center who visit every week for “Treecess!”

Treecess – Story of the Day #6 (11.7.19)

New Friends & New Adventures
Today we welcomed two new staff, Zooey and Luke, to Treecess! They jumped right in, leading games and coaching students on crafting basswood cordage. The games included a new one, called Blind Ninja, in which one person (the ninja) stands in the center of a circle, surrounded by students (not blindfolded.) Neither the ninja nor the students can escape the circle, and the ninja uses their sense of hearing to locate and tag the students, while the students carefully, quietly evade the ninja. It’s a game of subtlety, senses and stealth!
Tiger Beetle (Raven), Honeybee (Cammy) and Green Frog (Devin) led groups of students on nature walks. We each walked a short loop along the school’s maintained (mowed) trails near the playground. Remember those stout, fuzzy twigs we’ve been severing with stones to make wooden beads this Fall? Today we discovered their source—the staghorn sumac tree. As it turns out, dozens of these sumac trees live all along the school’s nature trails, and even grow along the entire edge of the playground!
Tiger Beetle’s groups ventured far enough down the trail to encounter yet another amazing craft-worthy plant. Hey, is that bamboo? No. But it’s woody, hollow-chambered stem looks very much like bamboo. It’s called Japanese knotweed, and students pulled the lightweight yet sturdy, rust-colored stalks from a densely populated colony. They then used the same rock-sawing technique as with the sumac beads to create little knotweed cups.
Walkers also discovered a fantastic spot along the trail—a place where countless maple trees shed their leaves to create a brown blanket on the trail. Interesting. Could this “blanket” keep one warm overnight in the woods without a real blanket? Absolutely! I know because I, like many Flying Deer staff, have tried it. Students held handfuls of leaves to their cheeks to feel them warm up. As a contrast, students then pressed their same cheek onto bare, grassy ground. Cold! Finally, we hand-raked these leaves into a heaping pile and took turns laying on this soft, warm mattress. Heavenly.
Before winter drops its white crystalline blanket, I encourage you to find a brown leafy one, to make a big pile, and test out its comfy warmth for yourself.
Green Frog (Devin Franklin)

Devin Franklin
Programs Director
Flying Deer Nature Center