Taking a trip into the depths of actual nature with a class of city kids is always an adventure. Today we went on the annual trip to Great Falls National Park for a hike and some information about animals from Ranger Mike. There were picnic tables for lunch, restrooms with running water, and a flat path to walk on, so clearly I am using the terms, "actual nature" and "hike" loosely. Nonetheless, it was much more nature than we see in our day-to-day concrete-filled, city lives.
City kids marvel at every aspect of nature. One year, even on the drive to the park entrance, Terrance stared in awe out the bus window at the huge trees that lined the road. "Is that real?" he asked. Yes, Terrance. They are real trees, and it is a real forest, and it is not plastic. Today as we made the same drive to the park, Zoe spotted a house along the way. "There's a house!" she exclaimed, completely surprised that people would actually think of living way out here in all this nature. A house in the woods--what will they think of next?
As we pulled into the park, Jaylen informed me that she had seen a "wild deer" before. "In the zoo." We forged ahead through the real trees, and while we didn't see any non-zoo deer, we did get to pet a real snake and touch a real fox pelt. We also happened upon a real daddy long legs, which drew a crowd of at least ten kids, oohing and ahhing as the spider made its way along a boulder.
When the spider met an unfortunate, shoe-related fate, Bryson lamented the loss of this small piece of nature. "Man," he said. "Now there's like one million spiders. Before, there was one million and one."
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