Reflections by Naturalist & Walk Leader Andrea Higgins
Photos by Gerry Beetham
Abundant sunshine, brilliant blue skies, and glistening, crunchy snow greeted this morning’s March 1st Preschool Explorers at HCT’s Muddy Creek Headwaters Preserve. We chatted about the signs letting us know that spring is indeed around the corner. We wondered when is Spring coming? What does Spring look like? What does Spring sound like? What does Spring smell like?
We could hear birds singing in the woods, in the restored meadow, and in the distance towards Muddy Creek. Together we practiced the song “KONK-A-REE” of the red-winged blackbird, which is one of my favorite birds. It was fun to think about where we might find them to marvel at their song and feather colors. Using blackbird construction paper cutouts, we fashioned mini-masterpieces with red/yellow wing patches.
Reading The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham, we took turns pushing the buttons to hear the bird calls that came through a built-in speaker, enabling our explorers to hear different calls and recognize who was singing at the Muddy Creek Headwaters Preserve.
Our walk offered opportunities to explore the Preserve as winter clad Explorers with snow pants, warm coats, cozy hats, and mittens ventured down a snow-covered trail calling out “KONK-A-REE” in search of red-winged blackbirds. We were thrilled and excited as we recognized the sounds…and lo and behold, we heard our first red-winged blackbirds singing along the edge of Muddy Creek! We quietly continued on toward the creek and we could hear several in the Phragmites and then we were fortunate enough to see one, too!
A beautiful view of the creek was the perfect spot to chat about what makes a bird a bird. Our Preschool Explorers shared lots of ideas about what makes a bird a bird including “birds have beaks, feathers, wings, they fly, make nests and lay eggs!” We examined some real feathers, (some feathers got an even better look under magnifying viewers), real nests, and stuffed animal birds.
We continued our journey to a perfectly placed bench where Preschoolers, mamas, and nanas got cozy and comfortable to listen to a story. We read Spring for Sophie by Yael Werber, a precious story about Sophie searching for signs of spring. Carefully written, this wonderful story focuses on slowing down the pace to tune into the natural world with all of our senses. Preschool friends walked together along the path chatting and pausing to notice pinecones, fallen logs, and some stones with kind messages written on them.
A delightful morning shared in a beautiful place. May our memories of these tender moments last as long as the Harwich Conservation Trust’s preserved properties . . . . forever.
Looking forward to next week’s adventures!
If you know of families with youngsters aged 2-5 who would like to join Preschool Explorers on Tuesday mornings, they can find details and reserve by clicking here.