“This seems clear enough: When truly present in nature, we do use all our senses at the same time, which is the optimum state of learning.”
― Richard Louv, The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder
Hiking in winter offers its own unique and enriching experience. HFP families gather for a mid year field trip at Tryon Creek State Park where we explore the trails, identify hardy native plants and wildlife, and deepen connections with each other and the natural world. In this lush forest, we get to fully utilize our capable bodies as we hike, run and balance on an enormous fallen tree trunk. We indulge in a predator-prey chase game, in which children gleefully become hungry hawks and helpless adults transform into timid mice. In this way, we learn more about forest life and children get to experience the thrill of a power shift- they are the ones in charge.
Exploring. New discoveries await alongside every trail and around every corner. Fertile imaginations sparkle by the scent of the forest floor, the sound of trickling water, the feel of a fern frond, and the sight of a mysterious burrow. An open tree stump provides the perfect hiding place as well as a foundation where children can pretend to be a tree with arms outstretched into branches.
Identifying. Teacher Susan provides visual plant and animal ID guides to help children locate and recognize Pacific Northwest natives. Some children discover fairy homes among mushrooms, moss and fern.
Bonding. Sharing discoveries deepens bonds with each other and our cherished earth.
Next month, we’ll hike along Balch Creek at Macleay Park, further nourishing our connections to the precious pockets of nature in our city.