This week we are saying goodbye to our wonderful instructor Will, who is off to finish college. We also welcomed Emily, a new instructor who will be with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays! 

The Nuthatches embarked on several snowy challenges this week! We learned from our animal of the week, Fisher, about sliding through the snow and making new friends.

The Nuthatches started off Tuesday the same way we have all week: playing games in the snow and exploring the snow tunnels! We sang the Wolf, Fox and Weasel song, because fishers are actually in the weasel family. Then it was off to our camp by Turkey Knoll. The path was so slippery that we had to slide down on our bellies or bottoms! 

When we arrived at Turkey Knoll, Ian invited the Nuthatches to try their hands at an epic obstacle course full of fun challenges! At the end, a special surprise would be waiting for us. 

The first challenge was to climb over the fallen log, and then back under it! The Nuthatches did a great job practicing taking turns so that nobody got hurt. Next, everyone plopped in the snow and made snow angels! The obstacle course also included challenges like making an owl hoot, doing the wave, balancing on a log, and singing the birdie song! Throughout all of this the Nuthatches used their teamwork skills to help each other through. 

For the final challenge, we had to climb through a spider web guarded by a black and orange spider, who tickled us with a pine branch if we touched the spider strands. Finally, on the other side of the web, we found a real treat: popcorn kernels! We spent the rest of the day “chilling” around the fire, and munching on popcorn that Ian popped over the coals. Nora also told a story about Friendly Fisher and Open-arms Owl, who had some lessons to teach about inviting other people to play. 

On Thursday, the Nuthatches got to meet a new person, Emily, and show her our old camp at Ash Grove! There, we were given another challenge. This time, the children had to hide a gift for the instructors to find! They ended up hiding it so well that the instructors walked right by it. 

And what was the mystery gift? It looked a bit like a bow. Will explained that it’s called a bow-drill, and it’s a way to start a fire without using matches. He set up the kit, and with some support from the Nuthatches, was able to get a coal going. He nestled it in some tinder and blew on it, as the Nuthatches arranged firewood to put it in. What a cool way to start our slunch fire! During slunch, Will told an exciting story about a time when he saw a fisher in person. 

After slunch, the Nuthatches got into partners for the next activity. In each partner pair, each person shared one thing that they felt proud of about themselves, or something they were good at. Then we came back together in a group and shared what our partners said. Some of the things the Nuthatches are proud of are: making friends, learning ballet, running fast, eating fast, making fires, and holding up the sun! After sharing, the Nuthatches played together as a group on the shelter, before circling up to send Will off with air-hugs. We’ll miss that guy but we’re pretty sure he’ll be back someday!

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.