The Great Outdoors

“Let me paint a picture for you. Close your eyes and imagine you are in the great outdoors. You are standing in front of a marsh surrounded by fresh air and the smell of water lilies. All of a sudden, a red winged black bird flies over your head toward a group of tall pine trees, this must be where her nest lies. As you stand perfectly quiet and still, you notice swallows chasing mosquitos, iridescent green and blue dragonflies skimming the surface of the water, flying through the many water striders which are skating on the glass clear water. To your right, you see snapping turtles sunbathing on a log surrounded by bright red pitcher plants. A lone loon calls out over a chorus of frogs as a siege of great blue herons fly over the water and land with a big splash. It must be feeding time as they dip their beaks into the water searching for fish. There is an intricately built beaver dam in the distance, but no colony of beavers to be seen. You feel relaxed and stress free for once, in a long time.” 

This image, or setting if you will, is something that I am fortunate to experience every time I set out into the great outdoors. During our field trip to the Ontario Science Centre for our Great Outdoors field trip, the SK’s were fortunate to have a similar experience. We met two Ontario Ecosystem Specialists who taught us about Ontario wetlands, their flora and fauna, and their importance to our ever-changing ecosystems. We learned about how every aspect of this specific ecosystem is weaved together to keep everything working, naturally.  

After the workshop, the children were excited to share what they learned. N told us that bears will never forget where they got an easy meal, so we need to make sure we lock up our garbage and maybe not feed the birds, just in case. M was excited to learn that fireflies are a type of beetle and O shared how bogs get their water from rain and snow run-off. 

Clara Hoover
SK Teacher
Children’s Garden School