The Chickadees were as busy as beavers this week! Read more to learn what they were up to…



A bracelet? A rattle? Teeth!— these were some of the guesses the Chickadees shared after feeling the contents of Tuesday’s mystery bag. After a loud drumroll, Sarah pulled out two half circles that were orange, white and black. “These belong to an animal that can be found around here. It can swim and it eats tree bark. It can use its strong teeth to chew down trees and carry limbs to make a dam and/or a lodge.” The mystery objects were teeth belonging to a beaver! The children learned that beaver teeth are orange because of iron in their enamel that helps keep their teeth strong (you’ve got to have strong teeth if you’re chewing wood!). 

On their way down to Trillium Camp, the flock stopped near a hole on the creekside of the path. Last week, the Chickadees spotted muddy five-fingered tracks leading to and from this hole. Sarah brought her trail cam and set it up on a nearby tree with the hope of catching a glimpse of the animal that’s living there. What do you think it could be? 

Once in camp, the Chickadees transformed into busy beavers! They worked together to carry sticks that were once a part of their shelter over to the creek where they planned to build a dam — just like actual beavers! This was tough work and the Chickadees did a great job working together, using their words and giving others space when they were carrying long sticks. 

The flock worked up an appetite after all that heavy lifting! At slunch they listened to a story called Turtle’s Race with Beaver by Joseph and James Bruchac and got to help tell part of the story. When all the animals of the forest gathered at the pond to watch turtle and beaver race, the animals started chanting — “Turtle! Turtle! Turtle!” and “Beaver! Beaver! Beaver!” The Chickadees did the same and if there were any beavers nearby, I’m sure they heard us! Eventually the chanting turned to silly words and the forest was filled with laughter. 

At Closing Circle, Tali, who is joining the Chickadees on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the spring starts, taught us a new song called “Land of the Silver Birch.” This song is a traditional Canadian folk song. The Chickadees played their instruments while singing:

Land of the silver birch 

Home of the beaver 

Where the mighty moose 

Wanders at will 

Blue lake and rocky shore

I will return once more 

Boomdiddyatta, Boomdiddyatta, Booooom

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Thursday brought blue skies, warm sunshine and lots and lots of MUD! The Chickadees gathered in the log circle, which was really just one giant mud puddle. While singing “Land of the Silver Birch” and Nora’s silly beaver song, the children (and instructors!) squished their boots in the mud. Some even rolled pieces of mud in their hands to make smooth mud balls that were almost like clay! 

The path to Trillium Camp was clear of snow for the first time in several weeks. The Chickadees stopped at the trail cam to see if it had taken any pictures and it had! Sarah showed the flock a picture of someone walking by on the trail — it was Eli! There were no pictures of the mysterious animal living in the hole yet but we’ll check next week to see if it took any new pictures over the weekend. 

After walking down the bridge and hanging up their backpacks, the children were excited to see mud puddles everywhere! The Chickadees flew through camp, jumping in every puddle they could find. They even went in the creek and splashed and played. Some children started working together to make a big pot of soup! They took turns carrying the pots to and from the creek, filling them up with water and dumping the water in the big pot of soup while other children stirred and added other ingredients (sticks, rocks, slushy snow). 

When it was getting close to slunch time, Nora smelled something and needed the help of some coyote pups to sniff it out. After some searching, which led them around camp and up a nearby hill, they found a small container of something sweet! What could it be? Nora said she would reveal this special treat at slunch. The children washed their hands, brought over the food and water to the log circle and Nora showed them what was in the container — maple candy! Nora explained that she made this candy using the sap from the trees we tapped! Each child and instructor got to try the sweet and smoky candy that came from the green-gray mountain trees! 

The children spent the rest of the day climbing up and sliding down the Climbing Hill, which became Mud Mountain. A giant puddle sat at the bottom of the hill, which the Chickadees took turns jumping in. It was a beautiful day and while we have all enjoyed the wonders of winter, we are excited for the magic that lies ahead in spring.


Thank you for reading! We’ll see you next week for the last week of the winter session!

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.