A group of kids from CHAD came out to Farrington on Thursday for the first overnight of the season. The group spent the evening playing water dodgeball and going on a hike before the evening campfire and s’mores. Friday morning and afternoon were equally busy, as the group made animal tracks, worked in the garden, visited the animals, and went to the pond.
Anthony, Emily, Maya, and Van led the group of campers down to the pond on Friday morning. One the way, one of the campers found a snake! The entire group wanted to get a good look at the garter snake, and none of them were scared. After the snake excitement the group continued to the pond. At first, none of the kids would take their shoes off and walk in the water. After a couple of staff got in and exclaimed, “Look at all these tadpoles!” the kids decided they needed to jump in the water and hunt for themselves. After that initial hesitation, there was no stopping the pond discovery. Kid after kid ran up to the dock with nets full of pond muck, weeds, and flopping tadpoles and insects calling out, “Look what I found!” with faces full of excitement.
The staff hurried to keep the wildlife in the water, providing tanks on the dock to fill with the day’s catch so that those kids still a little water shy could also view the creatures. They pulled out the aquatic macroinvertebrate identification card and found nearly every different type of bug on there. “What is it?” the kids would ask, “I don’t know, lets look at the card and identify it” Emily replied. Using the key they found damselflies, mayflies, and dragonfly nymphs. They also found water pennies, water boatmen, and crayfish.
Meanwhile behind the bug scene, the amphibian hunt was going equally well. Tadpole after tadpole was added to the tank on the dock. Two kids even managed to catch frogs! Maya, a junior counselor, helped one of the girls after she had caught it. When asked about her day later, Maya replied, “I got over my fear of frogs!” Maya’s own fears were overcome as she helped a camper do the same.
The highlight catch of the day stealthily made it’s way into the tank on the dock under the guise of “tadpole.” After examining more closely however, Brianne noted that the legs were much too far back to be a tadpole, and the animal had feathery gills. Someone had caught a newt! This group of kids started the day a little apprehensive about the water, and ended the session as ponding experts.