Part 6 of a series of posts that share how one Early Childhood Educator and her colleagues bring some of the children in their care to Assiniboine Forest once a week for 6 weeks to offer them an experience with Forest School principles in play.
For the last day that we had scheduled to come to Assiniboine Forest, we changed our plans slightly and headed to Assiniboine Park instead. With all of the obstacles we had encountered and unable to overcome, like hoards of mosquitoes, my co-workers and I decided to explore nature in the English Garden instead.
What a serendipitous event! As we walked up the path, a group of high school students and their teachers walked past us, with a large mesh basket- full of butterflies!!! We followed along, our eyes bulging with curiosity.
The teacher holding the basket, saw our interest and heard me explaining to the children what she was holding and their follow up questions. She stopped walking and explained to us that they were there to release the butterflies they had raised from larva.
My co-worker said she saw my mind spinning with excitement, as I transparently thought out how we could order these bugs online and raise our own fleet of butterflies! Or stick bugs! Or Dragonflies?!
As the basket of butterflies opened, the little winged beauties we reluctant to leave their home, The teacher scooped them out as our children sat patiently and the high school students graciously offered for the little ones to be the first to hold the butterflies before they flew away. Some those baby bugs that were brave enough to fly, coincidentally landed on the hats of our children, much to their squealing delight! The children were also given little lids with cocoon shells adhered to them.
We continued our walk and some of our children brought along their butterfly friends and their cocoons along with us. The children’s eyes for insect life were primed and we stopped to look at every caterpillar, ant and spider we found on the stone carvings and pathways and trees. They seemed much more interested in the the little creatures than they did the plants they lived amongst. We traveled through the Leo Mol Garden and back around to the duck pond.
Sitting on the steps in front of the Park Cafe and gazed at the water and watching a family of ducks travel from the shore to the island in the centre. Once again, we ended our field trip with peaceful resting time, reflecting on the day’s events. How lucky we were to have been at the right place and the exact right time to be involved in the butterfly release. As some most of these children will ‘graduate’ from our centre this summer, it was a poetic conclusion to our adventures in nature.
Read City Kids in a City Forest from the Beginning!