This week, we embodied how nuthatches live, had lots of fun and tapped into our senses!

We had a lot of energy this week that allowed us to play and learn as nuthatch birds might in the wild! We also had a special guest and tapped into lots of creativity and nature sensing skills.

On Monday, the Nuthatches gathered under cloudy skies in windy and chilly weather. Jamie brought out the weather chart and had some help from the Nuthatches to record the look of sky, chance of rain, and temperature. Afterwards, we gathered in opening circle. Nora showed us how to sing the Chickadee flock’s song and Jamie facilitated a conversation on our bird of the week: nuthatches!

We talked about their white, black, and blue/gray colors and their bird call, which some of us thought sounded like a unique little bird laugh. The Nuthatches also found it interesting how the birds are often seen upside down, searching for seeds and insects – something we may try to imitate in the future!

When we got to camp, we directed our excited energy into playing a life-size nest making game. The Nuthatches showed creativity in the materials and locations of the nests and worked together as teams. Afterwards, the Nuthatches visited the other nests and shared feedback about what they liked and noticed about the nests.

After slunch, with the sun coming out, we went to meet a surprise guest in the front field. The Nuthatches were excited to see that it was Elisabeth from the fall session! Elisabeth was thoughtful and brought a “bird food” snack of seeds and dried fruit for all the hungry Nuthatches! Naturally, everyone started to peck at their food in true nuthatch fashion. We finished our day listening to Elisabeth tell a story about a nuthatch and a friendly turtle that shared a message that one can always be safe and secure within themselves, no matter their environment.

On Wednesday morning, the Nuthatches gathered to find that Nani had a stink bug on her hand! We observed the bug and the Nuthatches looked at the bug’s characteristics and where they get their name from. A couple Nuthatches also noticed some wild garlic mustard growing, an exciting sign of spring! With permission and supervision, they tasted some while practicing sustainable harvesting.

In morning circle, Nora initiated a conversation and land acknowledgement of the traditional lands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ, the indigenous peoples of this region. We hope to continue land acknowledgements and explore together what it means to be good stewards of the land. The Nuthatches helped finish opening circle by teaching Jamie the “birdie song,” which is definitely one of their favorites!

When we got to camp, Nora invited the Nuthatches to play a game called “Hawks and Nuthatches.” The Nuthatches used their sensory awareness to evade hawks, a role the instructors played, while looking for pinecones to bring back to their nests. The Nuthatches sure are fast and clever and the hawks definitely got their workout for the day.


At slunch, Nora built us a nice fire while Nani offered help to any Nuthatches needing an extra hand. Jamie read the book “No Two Alike,” by Keith Baker that everyone seemed to enjoy.

The Nuthatches ended the day playing a game called “otter steals fish.” The Nuthatches got really creative while using sensory techniques like fox-walking and owl-eyes to play the game. We ended the day with gratitude and learned a new song about doing a tick scan! One of the Nuthatches even led the rest of the flock in how to do a proper tick scan.

Office Location:
Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
607-272-2292 | email Us

Preschool Location:
4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

Ithaca Forest Preschool is a nature immersion program for children ages 3-5. Our program is run in cooperation with Primitive Pursuits, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension.