The boxelder bugs were out in full force in the wood chips around the nature play area, leading to a week of insect and invertebrate collection and observation. What do boxelder bugs eat? we wondered. Ant perfected a method for collecting the little red nymphs, or babies, with a trowel and created a nursery for them. "Look, they're doing the boxelder shimmy!" exclaimed Snowflake, pointing to a boxelder bug squirming on its back. So we did our own boxelder shimmy.
At the stump circle, students moved the large stumps to look underneath, where they found a wide variety of soil critters and sorted them by type. Moon befriended and named several worms. We talked about what kind of food and shelter these little animals might need, how much sun or shade. In an effort to give them enough moisture, students accidentally flooded the terrarium and watched in fascination as boxelder bugs, centipedes, and others scurried and climbed out of the water. Quickly, the group shifted into rescue mode, pouring off the extra water and moving some of the animals onto a dry habitat that Icicle and Ant built.
Elm got to see several places for the first time--the beaver lodge where she made herself a home, Agouti's #1 secret hideout, and even Wirth Lake, where we scooped for invertebrates in the water. Moon and Agouti helped us be safe on our adventures, pointing out broken glass near the hideout and bees at the beaver lodge. We are working on identifying young poison ivy too!
Agouti becomes a stingray, camouflaged on the ocean floor.
Elm strikes a shadow pose.
Moon makes a symmetry owl and Ant does dab art.
Icicle leads us to the beaver lodge!
Icicle, Elm, Moon, and Agouti examine a Rube Goldberg contraption.