Session 2/3 Day 11

By Sandy Schenck

We have had another terrific day at the Green River Preserve! Our mentor hikes saw some fascinating things today. The hikers to the Lower Bald picked blueberries and blackberries all the way up the trail; they were also able to identify at least 15 different species of mushrooms! Campers who headed up to Uncle’s Falls came across a northern water snake that was up in a tree; they also saw plenty of salamanders and crawfish. Many campers “polar bear-ed” and went into the Salamander Cave; a few also went through the “Salamander Womb,” which is a short, narrow, twisty-tunnel-like cave that you enter below the falls and slither through on your stomach, emerging next to the pool of water at the bottom of the falls. At the farm, campers harvested 8 lbs of lettuce, a 2 lb cabbage, and 4 lbs of squash; they also fed the chickens. Mentors took the opportunity to discuss sustainable farming. In another mentor hike, they practiced their orienteering skills, bushwhacking their way to the Bear Trail and using a compass to navigate.

Campers started their last rotation of activities today. Campers taking “A Bug’s Life” spent some time at the beginning of the activity period discussing what makes a bug a bug and how an insect is different from, say, a spider. Then they moved down to the trout pond, where they found some cool waterbugs and even a dragonfly larva, which is a super-cool, prehistoric-looking creature with gigantic black eyes. Quite a fun entomological find! Juggling was meeting on the front field. Campers start with tennis balls and hackey sacks; they move on to hoops or rings and devil sticks. In nature art, campers first talk about the concept behind nature art, looking at a book of Andy Goldsworthy’s art for inspiration. Campers today were collecting leaves, rocks, pine needles, and branches, and arranging them in and next to a stream in order to create their works of art. In knitting, some campers were learning stitches; others were working on projects that they had already begun.

We finished the day on a high and energetic note, with our Appalachian Shindig. Em, our caller, taught us all sorts of square- and contra-dancing moves, like the do-si-do; we swung our partners, balanced the box, circled right, star-circled left, gypsied, pulled by on the right, all to the music of the “Ortgoblins.” Campers and staff were all smiles. The Ortgoblins ended by serenading us with “Paradise,” a country song that is beloved by many GRP campers and staff.

Campers then settled into their cabins to sleep; one lucky cabin, however, was headed out to the Tipi, to spend the night out there. Bonne nuit!