Earlier this week, we held our very first Woodland Detectives class at Tuttle Educational State Forest. It was a hot day but we were able to keep cool in the shade of the forest, thank goodness.

This week, we investigated INSECTS. We started with over-sized models, counting legs (6), body parts (3), and antennae (2). We even sang a song to help us remember the names of the three body parts--"Head, Thorax, Abdomen" (to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"). We looked at some super close-up photos of an insect's compound eye. We even got to "see" what an insect sees through our looking glass! Then armed with our magnifying glasses and bug jars, we headed off into the woods to see what kind of insects we could find.

We didn't venture far on our Bug Safari before our little scientists were laser-focused on the soil that ran alongside the path. We looked at old stumps, turned over logs, etc. Once all of our bug jars were full, we returned to our picnic table to examine our findings. Many of us found cicadas (dead adults and molts). Among our treasures were black ants, a black beetle, and a millipede (too many legs to be an insect!). We also collected other interesting nature items--a mushroom and some insect scat (scientific name for poop). After studying our specimens, we opened our bug jars and released all of the critters back into nature.

We enjoyed the first two stops on Tuttle's "Talking Tree Trail" and identified several animals that we recognized in their ecosystem display. We took some final pictures of our group, then turned around and headed back to our picnic table. We concluded our time together by singing/echoing "Ladybug, Ladybug" (complete with ladybug finger puppet). We sang a brief farewell song to practice each other's names before heading for home.

Our next nature class will be Eco-Art on Tuesday, 6/27 10-11am. This time, we will learn much more about insects--even make a few of our own! to join us. Just send us a quick email and let us know who to expect (names) and their ages too. Feel free to bring a friend--the more, the merrier!