It's the last month of the school year. We are sure that it flew by as quickly for you as it did for us. As we wrap up our 2013-14 field season, we reflect on how our students, your children, have grown. Some students were timid on their first day hiking in nature. Now, by their fourth visit, students exhibit their comfort in nature, their excited curiosity in exploring it, and their growing understanding of how nature works.
We are honored to have helped close to 1,000 students deepen their relationship with the earth this year. We hope that they take the lessons of nature home with them, and allow their experiences with IOOBY to shape their unique perspectives on life.
As you reflect on your child's growth, we hope that you see a deep respect for nature growing in them. Please remember LandPaths as your child continues to grow. Take your family on a hike at one of your beautiful Open Space Preserves, enrolling your child in Owl Camp, making a donation, or looking into other ways to step into the outside!
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The theme of our final field trip was habitat. We explored just what makes a habitat through song, exploration, investigation, and down- right fun. Your child may have experienced a critter's habitat, first- hand! Ask your child about their experiences: what they saw, learned, and loved. Here's an idea of activities we completed together, along with some complimentary questions to get you all talking.
(1) SINGING THE HABITAT SONG "A tunnel for an ant and a cave for a bat, what were those four things that make a habitat?"
Just like your child, every living creature needs four things to survive: food, water shelter, and space. You can bring home the concept of habitat by asking your child how their food, water, shelter, and space compare to that needed by other living things like earthworms, Stellar's Jays, or their brothers and sisters!
(2) THE SALMON GAME is a fun, creative, way to learn about the life cycle of this important fish. Salmon lay their eggs and begin their lives in freshwater creeks and rivers before making their long voyage to the Pacific Ocean. After up to 5 years in the ocean, they return to lay eggs in the exact same place they were born! Ask your child what they know about the salmon life cycle: Can salmon be found close to your home? How have humans impacted salmon populations? How can we improve habitat for salmon?
(3) POSITIVE REFLECTIONS
We took time to look back on our whole year with IOOBY and wrote postcards to ourselves! Using watercolors, we painted pictures on the front of our postcard and described our favorite experiences in nature. Ask your child: What did they paint? What were their favorite IOOBY experiences throughout the year?
(4) SAYING GOODBYE TO OUR SIT SPOTS Since it was our last visit as a class, we said goodbye to our sit spots. Ask your child if they liked their sit spot. Would they like to go back? Many of the parks we visited are public and can be accessed anytime. Offer to take your child back to their sit spot. If their IOOBY site is not public, remind your child that sit spots can be created anywhere, anytime.
Sit Spots are central to IOOBY field trips because we believe that time alone in nature can allow us simple, quiet time; create peace in our hearts; and clarity in our path and purpose. Encourage your child to create their own sit spot in a local park, your garden, or in a special place at home.
IOOBY stands for In Our Own BackYard. IOOBY is LandPaths' premier environmental education program that aims to cultivate a level of comfort in, connection to, and informed appreciation of the outdoors for students involved. Through four theme- based field trips, we hope to awaken each student’s senses to the world around them through discovery and exploration, enliven their curiosity about the natural world through fun- filled investigations of their own watersheds and local habitats, and ultimately, inspire them to respect, protect, and steward the land.
Click here to learn more about IOOBY.
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Contents (c) 2008 by Land Partners Through Stewardship (Landpaths) Site Credits