Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Going on a Bear Hunt!

We took a field trip to Western Carolina Wildlife Education Center.  We love going to this little gem and learning about the world around us.  The nature programs are amazing and we just can't get enough!  This time we brought a group of friends to experience it.

The topic:  Black Bears of North Carolina.  Of course, this is our favorite bear.  The black bear is much smaller than the Grizzly bear and less threatening.  We learned about the habitat of the local black bear.  Ranger Matt led a lively discussion about urbanite bears.  He discussed how they track bears and how there really isn't bear relocation.  The male bear has a territory of 15,000 acres and the female 4,000 acres.  Troublesome bears that can't be rehabilitated often have to be put down.  He stressed the importance not feeding the bears and keeping all food sources locked up.

He showed us a grizzly bear skull and then a black bear skull.  The difference was amazing!  We learned about the diet of the black bear and where they like to eat in the area versus the diet of the grizzly.

Black bear skull

Grizzly bear skull

After a brief time in the classroom, we went outside and the children were given the task to draw a black bear.  Using a grid approach to drawing, each participant drew part of the black bear.  This was a fun exercise to show the students the size of the bear.

Then we went on a bear tracking hunt.  This was the best part to actually see bear tracks!  We went through the woods and down to the river.  There were tracks in muddy places.  There were tracks around the riverbanks.  The rangers were just as excited as the kids!  Ranger Patrick said that based on one set of tracks the bear was probably 400 or more pounds.  Glad we didn't run into it!

After the hike, we went back into the classroom to discuss everything we had learned and saw.  Then back outside to play one final game before leaving.

We can't wait to have another class!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Painting Turkeys

We had a bit of fun painting turkeys with friends.  The girls love to paint.  The boys always go with best intentions, but after a bit they are ready to go outside and let their energy out.  Ms. Ashlee is very patient with the kiddos and allows their creativity to shine.  It is nice for the children to express themselves without worrying about a grade given to their art work.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Backyard Balancing

Little Man is fascinated with parkour.  Evidently most 9 to 15 year old boys are very interested in parkour.  I have listened to many details and how to do x,y, and z from him.  We have a trampoline and he jumps a good bit.  He wanted to set up some kind of parkour course in the backyard.

I decided to move the trampoline over and create an area devoted to him bouncing, jumping, and balancing.  We had scrap lumber sitting around from deck construction, some concrete blocks, and tree stumps.  All things that could be re-purposed to create an area to satisfy his needs.

Now he can walk balance beams (skinny and wide), run up ramps, use different balance boards, hop from stump to stump, and jump until his heart is content.

It is still a work in progress.  Now, Hubby wants to add a heavy bag to workout with and who knows what else!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Honoring Our Veterans

We spent the morning of November 11th doing what we have done for the last five years.  Attending our small town's Veterans Day Parade.  It has become a tradition for us and we love sharing it with our friends.  Now, we share it with you.  It is so important to say thank you to their service.  All the freedoms that we enjoy are because of the men and women in uniform.  They are our protectors.  It is a shame that so many in elected government offices are using pen and paper to undo the freedoms and rights given to us by our forefathers and fought for by are military.  Still, we need to honor these service members and teach our younger generations of their sacrifice.  Thank you!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Primitive Compass

Mr. Jack just loves to introduce the children to interesting scientific wonders.  He has had them use compasses in past classes, but this time he had them make a very rudimentary compass.  Most of the children love survivalist activities, so this ranks high on the list of coolness.

As always, Mr. Jack explains the reasoning behind the lesson of the day.  He is great about keeping things simple, yet full of facts and cool stuff.

He then demonstrates what is expected for the assembly of compass.  After any questions, he releases the children to gather materials and begin construction.

Next, they worked in teams of three to try out their compasses.  They were given a list of coordinates and began their journey.  Everyone's group did a great job using their compass and got within a foot of the actual target.

We just love Mr. Jack!

Boo in the Zoo

The kiddos are growing up and they are beginning to get 'too big' for the kiddie stuff.  However, they still like to see the decorations at the zoo.  Since we have been attending the zoo talks this fall, we noticed that the zoo was decorating for Boo in the Zoo.  We invited a couple of friends to go to the zoo with us and see the decorations and the animals.  They hate to admit it, but they had a great time!

Here are a few pics we got of the kiddos in front of various Halloween displays at the zoo.

Our zoo does a wonderful job with the animals it keeps and the activities for the patrons.  It is a nice little gem for our upstate area.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fair Time!

We spent a wonderful day at the Piedmont Interstate Fair Educational day with friends.  I had never taken my children to the fair before and wanted them to experience it without the temptation of rides.  It seems the fairs have become more about riding than the actual heritage that it began.  No temptations of rides today!

We headed to the livestock area when we arrived.  There was a petting zoo station and the children loved the different animals.  Tropical birds, monkeys, lemurs, zebra, goats, camels, calves, etc. were on display.  The chickens were not on display because the of the bird flu threat.  There were a few goats and cattle present.  A large area contained pigeons, quail and rabbits.  The children found these equally delightful.

We toured an exhibit hall that had different types of tractors.  Of course, the boys loved this part.  There was an old Army jeep that caught their attention and how they longed to sit in it.

The girls enjoyed the art exhibit hall.  They discussed the drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.  We were encouraging them to work on a piece to submit for next year's fair.

We strolled along the midway and stopped to watch an Elvis impersonator sing and dance.  A robot caught the attention of the kiddos and they had a blast interacting with it.  We stopped and watched a game that involved a rat picking out a number for people to win a prize.  We bought funnel cakes and enjoyed socializing in the grand stands.

The final exhibit hall had a display of arts and crafts, contest winners, food category winners, and informational booths.

The children enjoyed the fair with their friends.  Maybe next year we will venture to the State Fair!