Preschool Explorers Celebrate Autumn at Coy’s Brook Woodlands

Reflections by Naturalist & Walk Leader Andrea Higgins
Photos courtesy of HCT Volunteer Photographer Gerry Beetham

Curious Explorers and their caregivers gathered at the stunning and colorful 30-acre Coy’s Brook Woodlands for our adventure and exploration this morning. Preschoolers gently greeted each other with sweet smiles and tender offerings of rocks and colorful leaves as they gathered in the parking lot.

Once all of our participants arrived, I shared our morning’s plan and handed each child a collection bag for gathering leaves. We wandered down the trail and admired the foliage in shades of yellow, brown, red, orange, peach, and green. In the distance, brilliant blue waters wiggled through golden marsh grasses with glints of sparkling light shining like diamonds across the surface.

Spreading out a mat on the leaf littered floor, Explorers settled down for the first stories of the morning. I read Autumn Leaves Fall by Amber Hendricks and How Do You Know It’s Fall? by Lisa M. Herrington.  We chatted about seasons, specifically autumn, for a bit before heading back down the path in search of more leaves to collect while bathing in the beauty of our surroundings.

Happiness = witnessing eight Preschool Explorers wearing big bright smiles while rambling down the trails, crunching leaves under their tiny feet, looking around in wonder, and filling the forest with laughter.

Arriving at a perfectly placed bench with a spectacular view of the marsh and the Herring River, Explorers climbed up to listen to our next story, Countdown to Fall by Fran Hawk. This sweet book is loaded with beautiful illustrations, captivating its audience with the animals and birds decorating its pages.

Time to use our collection bag treasures! I handed each Explorer a bottle of school glue and a picture of a leafless tree to decorate with their leaf collection. Explorers and their caregivers got busy straight away making wonderful creations, each one beautiful and unique… much like our awesome Explorers. Some used their leaves to decorate the sky, some added them to the branches, and others decorated the forest floor, carpeting the base of the tree with brilliant colors.

Our second art project of the morning involved threading leaves onto a long colorful shoestring to create nature necklaces that could also turn into autumn decorations for Explorers’ homes.

After our creativity session, we set back on the trails to continue our adventures, looking quite festive donning our autumn art. Pausing for a moment, we admired mushrooms, lichens, trees peppered with woodpecker holes, and a soft and springy patch of green moss. A stand of beech trees bathed the forest in the gold hue of its colorful leaves.

Nearing the end of our time together, we set out our reading mat once more to take a rest and listen to two more stories about fall: What Do Animals Do in Fall? by Rebecca Felix and Hello Autumn by Shelly Rotner.

Tuckered out toddlers (some still running on their energy reserves, some riding on their parents backs, and others lovingly held in their caregivers’ arms) made their way up the path back to the parking lot under a canopy of oaks, pines, cedars, beech, and maple trees. I am grateful for this land that is preserved forever, the moments shared here, and all the wonderful memories made together. 

Happy Exploring.


Ms. Andrea