Saturday, May 9, 2009
First Graders at Filoli
Filoli is a somewhat local estate, famous primarily for its mansion and surrounding gardens. That alone made several moms in Smunch's class interested in chaperoning the field trip this week. Of course, we didn't get to go in the house...or the gardens...but who knew it was also a beautiful open space?So instead of some fancy kind of tour, we took a two-mile hike through a bunch of neat little microclimates/ecological zones. Just enough stuff to keep a bunch of first graders interested. We didn't get to see the manicured gardens, but there were plenty of flowers out in the meadow.And there were some beautiful, majestic oaks to marvel at.The docent introduced the kids to the trees, poison oak, thistles and hemlock as I snapped away with my camera.We headed from the meadow into the creekside riparian habitat and up the hill...The kids looked for water skaters... and got to visit with a banana slug. So many fantastic photos to take along the way...Smunch was happy. All that letterboxing probably paid off. Even though it was a pretty long hike, I didn't hear him whine once. With so much to see and so many places to stop and look at things, most of the kids were pretty happy. Just glad to be outside for a change. It's the time of year for irises in the forests around here. They were lovely, but so were the little pink flowers and the woodland violets.Although our docent and hike guide referred to this guy as "some kind of caterpillar", I'd beg to differ. This little fella is a yellow-spotted millipede. And these are some of the coolest little pink mushrooms/fungi I've ever seen. They looked just like Mam had spilled some of her treasures out there in the woods. There were stories from other groups who saw newts or snakes or got to visit the gardens with their docent, but all-in-all, I think we had a really successful trip. No one came home with poison oak or a new pet banana slug. Everyone had a fun time getting out and walking around. What more could you ask for?