The Nuthatches brought a lot of energy and excitement back at IFP after our week off. The rainy and chilly weather didn’t stop us from having a lot of fun this past Monday!

On Monday, instructors Jamie, Nora, Nani and Edie joined the Nuthatches and welcomed in more signs of Spring! The theme this week was the ruffed grouse.

On Monday, Jamie opened morning circle with a mystery object that was wrapped in a bandana. The Nuthatches gathered on their logs in a circle and took turns passing the object around. The Nuthatches showed a focus of energy as they tapped into their senses and guessed what the mystery object could be. There were some really observant and good guesses! The mystery item was then revealed to be a stick with a large, burl-like sphere that wrapped entirely around it. The stick also happened to make a nice talking stick and we hope to use it more in our circle discussions going forward.

Our theme for the week was the ever-mysterious ruffed grouse! Edie shared with the Nuthatches some of the characteristics and behaviors of the ruffed grouse. Later, when playing some games in the field of Turkey Knoll, we were able to stop and listen to the drum-like beat that the ruffed grouse makes when they take flight! Other sightings that we noticed were juncos, the sound of woodpeckers, seeing trout lily and may apple!

After slunch, Jamie made some pine needle tea and shared a story about dragons who also like pine trees.  Nora shared with everyone the song “My Roots Go Down,” and we closed out the day with a round of gratitude using our new talking stick.

On Wednesday, the Nuthatches joined Astrid, Edie, Jamie and Nora for a day of new adventure. We had weather with sunny skies in the high 50’s. At opening circle, Astrid did a great job showing us how to sing “The Critter Song.” Then we passed around a mystery bundle as all the Nuthatches took turns guessing what it could be! After sharing some observant guesses, the mystery was revealed to be part of a bow drill friction fire kit. After circle, the Nuthatch flock hiked out to the hemlock grove for some change of scenery! When we got to the hemlock grove, we came across one of our Spring favorite plants; ramps!

Astrid guided the Nuthatches around the ramps and we had a discussion about what it means to respect the plant. All the Nuthatches were very mindful to not trample our delicious, edible friends. At our camp spot, Nora shared with the Nuthatches that ruffed grouse will hide and jump out at their predators to scare them away sometimes. Naturally, that sounded like a great game to play, and so we played “Grouse and Predator.” Edie helped the Nuthatches find their creative side in finding their hiding spots. Some children opted to be covered in leaves, while others chose to hide behind trees. While waiting for the predators to come near, the Nuthatches got to practice sitting still and being quite, similar to a sit spot!

During slunch, Jamie attempted to make a friction fire but came up short of getting a coal, so we had no fire that day. The Nuthatches did a great job cleaning up the camp site for the day and we have a feeling we’ll be visiting that spot again in the future.

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 program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and is run by Primitive Pursuits, a 4-H Program.