Where All the Action Is! (Session 6, July 21)

By Sandy Schenck

Today has been an action-packed day at the Green River Preserve!  We covered a lot of ground on mentor hikes this morning, both literally and metaphorically—we hiked a lot, and campers challenged themselves.  And rose to the challenge again.  Our Uncle’s Falls hikers polarbeared, and they went into the Salamander Cave, where they saw a giant salamander—“as big as my face,” as their mentor put it!  Some campers also ventured into the Salamander Womb, a separate tunnel of a cave, where you also might see some salamanders.  You crawl into the entry-way, squirm and slither up and around to the left, and you pop out an exit that is to the side of the pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall.  You get a little dirty, but it’s worth it!  Another group spent the morning exploring Long Rock.  After admiring the view, they looked at the petroglyphs that are carved into the rock and talked about their possible origins.  They saw a really cool spider, with an enormous abdomen, and they also found what might be a spear point.  They also went through the Labyrinth—a natural sort of fallen-rock-formation at the bottom of Long Rock.  Down at the Farm, everyone was especially busy with a huge harvest—53 pounds of beans and 73 pounds of potatoes.  They also checked out our worm farm—we’re recycling our brown paper napkins, and there are a lot of happy worms down there.  Another group hiked down to the Lower Bald, where they enjoyed the view of the Green River Valley.  On their way back down the trail, they decided to go off trail and do some bushwhacking, which takes a lot of patience, cooperation, and fortitude.  Campers were keenly observant, and listening out, too—and they were rewarded, since they saw and heard a rattlesnake!  That’s the second of the Grand Slam types of animals we need for this session—now all we need to see is a wild turkey and a black bear.  Maybe on camp-out, coming up in a few days….

After lunch—cheese and chicken quesadillas, guacamole, salsa, pears, rice and beans, and salad bar—and rest hour, campers started their second day of activities.  In theater, they raided the costume closet and played fun improvisational games, like “Hitchhiker.”  A camper pretends they are driving in a car, and they stop to pick up a “hitchhiker,” and then more hitchhikers.  The hitchhikers assume a character, and everyone interacts while staying in character.  Field Games was excited about playing Ultimate Frisbee; we had a bit of rain at the end of the period, so they moved into the Gazebo and played Mafia for the remainder.  The weather cleared,  happily, and in “A Bug’s Life,” we were looking at critters from the lake:  dragonflies, damsel flies (one with a beautiful purple color on its head), bullfrog tadpoles (and we looked at its mouth, looking for teeth and its beak-like feature, that it uses to scrape algae off grass under the water), and dragonfly nymphs—an insect-looking creature with a long skinny body that moves through the water almost like a snake.  In drumming, we went out and found random objects that we then experimented with using as percussion instruments—a clipboard and a tin can, a salt and pepper shaker, a trash can.  Then we experimented with tonal differences or timbre, adding instruments in by moving from a higher pitch to a lower pitch.  Action on all different levels here today!

Tonight for evening program, we’ll play Predator/Prey.  In this simulation game, campers gain a new understanding of fortitude–from an animal’s perspective.  Campers and staff are assigned categories of animals, ranging from insect to hawk.  Most of the “animals” dress in camouflage; the “hawks,” however, are required to wear brightly-colored clothing.  These animal groups run all around Base Camp, “foraging” for resources; they can also capture members of other groups and absorb them into their group.  When the game is over, we’ll discuss strategies animals use for evading predators, including hiding, running, and camouflage.

You can see pictures from today’s action here!