Web Of Life Field (WOLF) School

We are a California-based Outdoor Science School, working to build respect, appreciation, and stewardship within the Web of Life.


Donate to the WOLF School Scholarship   Questions?  
'Don't Do That': Armadillo's Poetic Guide to Positive Reinforcement
(as told through Haiku’s)

-~*~-
Don’t touch Poison Oak.
If you get an itchy rash,
It’s your own fault.

-~*~-
Students, please don’t run.
You will fall and break your face.
WOLF School will get sued.

-~*~-
Don’t lick them please, dude.
Banana Slugs have feelings.
Your mouth will get numb.

'Don't Do That': Armadillo's Poetic Guide to Positive Reinforcement

(as told through Haiku’s)

-~*~-

Don’t touch Poison Oak.

If you get an itchy rash,

It’s your own fault.

-~*~-

Students, please don’t run.

You will fall and break your face.

WOLF School will get sued.

-~*~-

Don’t lick them please, dude.

Banana Slugs have feelings.

Your mouth will get numb.

Maximize Your Adventure with a Naturalist for Hire!
 
The natural world has so many places to explore and new things to discover.  Any time you take a walk out in nature, there are so many hidden treasures to find and experience.  However, a lot of the most amazing things are easily overlooked if you aren’t looking or don’t know what to look for.  A professional naturalist guide can help you to see, enjoy, and understand more about the environment and wildlife by pointing out those hidden gems and teaching about all the things that you see out on the trail.  With a naturalist guide, you will be able to get the most out of your experience in nature, learn a great deal of cool information, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
A naturalist helps connect people to nature and interprets what’s going on in the environment.  Often times called an interpreter, these people help you to hear and understand what the wild is “saying” to us.  You can learn so much more about nature, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it, when you have someone to tell the story behind each creature and each interaction.  They can show you the rare and endangered organisms, point out the small overlooked details, and answer any questions that might come up along the way.  Not only can you learn the names of the plants and animals around, but you can also learn how they interact with each other to survive, their importance in the community, how they were used by people in the past, and how they can be a benefit to the people of today.   
The Web of Life Field (WOLF) School’s Naturalist for Hire program allows you to take an educated guide with you on any hike throughout Little Basin and Big Basin, and maximize the amount that you will see and learn on your hike.  It also can help add to your adventure through educational games and activities that can be done with your group as well.  Great for any kind of school, scouting, or family group or special event, programs can be customized around your personal requests.  Themes include: ecology, plants, animals, history, astronomy, team building, and much more!  
Gaining more knowledge about nature allows for a deeper connection with it, and a deeper connection leads to a greater appreciation.  It is great to take a hike in the outdoors, but even better to fully experience it and build that connection and appreciation for the environment.  With such great beauty around, don’t miss a chance to take advantage of such amazing wonders of nature, and also to take advantage of the great resources available to teach about it.

Maximize Your Adventure with a Naturalist for Hire!

 

The natural world has so many places to explore and new things to discover.  Any time you take a walk out in nature, there are so many hidden treasures to find and experience.  However, a lot of the most amazing things are easily overlooked if you aren’t looking or don’t know what to look for.  A professional naturalist guide can help you to see, enjoy, and understand more about the environment and wildlife by pointing out those hidden gems and teaching about all the things that you see out on the trail.  With a naturalist guide, you will be able to get the most out of your experience in nature, learn a great deal of cool information, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost.

A naturalist helps connect people to nature and interprets what’s going on in the environment.  Often times called an interpreter, these people help you to hear and understand what the wild is “saying” to us.  You can learn so much more about nature, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it, when you have someone to tell the story behind each creature and each interaction.  They can show you the rare and endangered organisms, point out the small overlooked details, and answer any questions that might come up along the way.  Not only can you learn the names of the plants and animals around, but you can also learn how they interact with each other to survive, their importance in the community, how they were used by people in the past, and how they can be a benefit to the people of today.  

The Web of Life Field (WOLF) School’s Naturalist for Hire program allows you to take an educated guide with you on any hike throughout Little Basin and Big Basin, and maximize the amount that you will see and learn on your hike.  It also can help add to your adventure through educational games and activities that can be done with your group as well.  Great for any kind of school, scouting, or family group or special event, programs can be customized around your personal requests.  Themes include: ecology, plants, animals, history, astronomy, team building, and much more! 

Gaining more knowledge about nature allows for a deeper connection with it, and a deeper connection leads to a greater appreciation.  It is great to take a hike in the outdoors, but even better to fully experience it and build that connection and appreciation for the environment.  With such great beauty around, don’t miss a chance to take advantage of such amazing wonders of nature, and also to take advantage of the great resources available to teach about it.

Reblogged from aslabnotes
Little Basin Cabins and Campgrounds is “CRUMB CLEAN!”
People come to Little Basin, the group campground of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, to get away from it all. They come to enjoy the peaceful quiet and awe-inspiring wildlife.  They camp, hike, relax and play in the redwoods while at Little Basin, and now every camper will be helping to protect an endangered species:  the Marbled Murrelet.  By being Crumb Clean, each camper will make a commitment to never feed the wildlife.  This simple action will have a positive impact on this unique bird.
The Marbled Murrelet is a rare and endangered sea bird, which uses the old growth forest as its nesting habitat.  These web-footed birds can travel over 50 miles inland to fly high up into the tree tops, where they will use larger old growth redwood and Douglas fir limbs to lay their single egg for the season.  Once the egg hatches, the parents trade off flying back to the ocean for food for their baby chick. When the chick has matured, it will take its first flight ever, and fly all the way from the trees to the seas.
The first Marbled Murrelet nest was found in 1974 in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  These birds are masters of disguise, and by nesting so high up in some of our tallest living trees, it makes them extremely difficult for humans to find.  With their feathered predators though, the Murrelets have not been so lucky.  Ravens and jays have learned to spot the speckled egg of a Marbled Murrelet and eat both eggs and chicks when they find them.  Although this is not their main food source, it is an easy one and the Murrelet population is decreasing significantly because of it.
Here at Little Basin, along with other CA State and National Parks, the Crumb Clean campaign is in full effect.  We are updating our food lockers with “Keep it Crumb Clean” stickers.  Each camper will sign a Crumb Clean Commitment, and we will talk about our impact at every interpretive program and campfire given in the park.  By never leaving food unattended, using food lockers, and never feeding wildlife, Little Basin campers are doing their part to help save the Marbled Murrelet.
For more information on the Marbled Murrelet, and what CA State Parks are doing to help, check out the link below.

http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/20/18376847-fighting-to-save-an-endangered-bird-with-vomit?d=1

Little Basin Cabins and Campgrounds is “CRUMB CLEAN!”

People come to Little Basin, the group campground of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, to get away from it all. They come to enjoy the peaceful quiet and awe-inspiring wildlife.  They camp, hike, relax and play in the redwoods while at Little Basin, and now every camper will be helping to protect an endangered species:  the Marbled Murrelet.  By being Crumb Clean, each camper will make a commitment to never feed the wildlife.  This simple action will have a positive impact on this unique bird.

The Marbled Murrelet is a rare and endangered sea bird, which uses the old growth forest as its nesting habitat.  These web-footed birds can travel over 50 miles inland to fly high up into the tree tops, where they will use larger old growth redwood and Douglas fir limbs to lay their single egg for the season.  Once the egg hatches, the parents trade off flying back to the ocean for food for their baby chick. When the chick has matured, it will take its first flight ever, and fly all the way from the trees to the seas.

The first Marbled Murrelet nest was found in 1974 in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  These birds are masters of disguise, and by nesting so high up in some of our tallest living trees, it makes them extremely difficult for humans to find.  With their feathered predators though, the Murrelets have not been so lucky.  Ravens and jays have learned to spot the speckled egg of a Marbled Murrelet and eat both eggs and chicks when they find them.  Although this is not their main food source, it is an easy one and the Murrelet population is decreasing significantly because of it.

Here at Little Basin, along with other CA State and National Parks, the Crumb Clean campaign is in full effect.  We are updating our food lockers with “Keep it Crumb Clean” stickers.  Each camper will sign a Crumb Clean Commitment, and we will talk about our impact at every interpretive program and campfire given in the park.  By never leaving food unattended, using food lockers, and never feeding wildlife, Little Basin campers are doing their part to help save the Marbled Murrelet.

For more information on the Marbled Murrelet, and what CA State Parks are doing to help, check out the link below.

http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/20/18376847-fighting-to-save-an-endangered-bird-with-vomit?d=1

Eat low on the food chain:  With the many choices we have in life, there are a lot of choices that we can make to help conserve the natural resources that support us.  Most people don’t think about the resources it takes to get food to their table, but even our food choices affect the environment.  Eating low on the food chain, or a plant based diet, greatly reduces the amount of resources used and has a huge positive impact on the environment. Even just one meal without meat can help conserve water, food, and energy.  Producing meat is very costly, and takes about ten times the amount of resources it takes to produce grains, fruits, or vegetables.  To produce one pound of beef it takes 16 pounds of grain and soy, 2,500 gallons of water, and about one gallon of gasoline.-Conserving Water  Livestock production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed in the U.S.  Even one serving of chicken takes over 400 gallons of water. This is something that we should especially be considering here in California, where we are experiencing a mega drought.-Conserving Food  If Americans reduced their meat consumption by only 10%, the savings in grains and soybeans could feed 60 million people, roughly the amount of people who starve to death worldwide each year.  Also over a billion people could be fed each year by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock alone.-Conserving Space  A third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing, and half of America’s croplands grow livestock feed. 220 million acres of land in the U.S. have been deforested for livestock production as well as 25 million acres in Brazil (an area the size of Australia), and half the forests of Central America. This takes away native habitat effecting wildlife and decreasing biodiversity.-Conserving the Ozone  The widespread deforestation is exacerbating the greenhouse effect by taking away trees that would be helping to trap carbon and recycle oxygen. Also, the U.N. has declared cattle farming as the number one cause of global warming, producing more greenhouse gasses than all modes of transportation combined. The worlds 1.3 billion cattle produce about 100 million tons of methane annually, and methane actually traps 25 times more solar heat than CO2.-How to help!  Even if you’re a die hard meat eater, just cutting down in the amount of meat you eat can have a benefit on the environment. Meatless Mondays is a global movement to help combat global warming by not eating meat one day out of the week (you don’t even have to do it on Monday).  Though some might consider it a “sacrifice” to not eat a food they like, one must also consider the environmental sacrifice of our actions (not to mention the animals being sacrificed for human consumption).  Each meal is a choice, and each choice we make can have a positive or negative effect on the environment and the world we live in.  My hope is to just provide people with the information help them know how to make positive choices when they can and feel driven to do so.

Eat low on the food chain:
  With the many choices we have in life, there are a lot of choices that we can make to help conserve the natural resources that support us.  Most people don’t think about the resources it takes to get food to their table, but even our food choices affect the environment.  Eating low on the food chain, or a plant based diet, greatly reduces the amount of resources used and has a huge positive impact on the environment. Even just one meal without meat can help conserve water, food, and energy.
  Producing meat is very costly, and takes about ten times the amount of resources it takes to produce grains, fruits, or vegetables.  To produce one pound of beef it takes 16 pounds of grain and soy, 2,500 gallons of water, and about one gallon of gasoline.

-Conserving Water
  Livestock production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed in the U.S.  Even one serving of chicken takes over 400 gallons of water. This is something that we should especially be considering here in California, where we are experiencing a mega drought.

-Conserving Food
  If Americans reduced their meat consumption by only 10%, the savings in grains and soybeans could feed 60 million people, roughly the amount of people who starve to death worldwide each year.  Also over a billion people could be fed each year by the grain and soybeans eaten by U.S. livestock alone.

-Conserving Space
  A third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing, and half of America’s croplands grow livestock feed. 220 million acres of land in the U.S. have been deforested for livestock production as well as 25 million acres in Brazil (an area the size of Australia), and half the forests of Central America. This takes away native habitat effecting wildlife and decreasing biodiversity.

-Conserving the Ozone
  The widespread deforestation is exacerbating the greenhouse effect by taking away trees that would be helping to trap carbon and recycle oxygen. Also, the U.N. has declared cattle farming as the number one cause of global warming, producing more greenhouse gasses than all modes of transportation combined. The worlds 1.3 billion cattle produce about 100 million tons of methane annually, and methane actually traps 25 times more solar heat than CO2.

-How to help!
  Even if you’re a die hard meat eater, just cutting down in the amount of meat you eat can have a benefit on the environment. Meatless Mondays is a global movement to help combat global warming by not eating meat one day out of the week (you don’t even have to do it on Monday).  Though some might consider it a “sacrifice” to not eat a food they like, one must also consider the environmental sacrifice of our actions (not to mention the animals being sacrificed for human consumption).  Each meal is a choice, and each choice we make can have a positive or negative effect on the environment and the world we live in.  My hope is to just provide people with the information help them know how to make positive choices when they can and feel driven to do so.

Eat locally to think globally
  If you look in the store you will find food that has come from all over the globe. It may be an amazing distribution system that allows us to eat foods that come from so many places, however there is a hidden environmental cost to transporting food such distances. People who are aware and trying to help are participating in the local foods movement. 
  Most “fresh” food in the U.S. had traveled over a thousand, or even two thousand miles from a huge corporate owned farm. And more often, the food we are eating is coming from other countries. According to Natural Resurce Defense Council (NRDC), the typical American meal has ingredients from at least five other countries. This imported food is brought in by planes, ships, and trucks creating almost 250,000 tons of global warming pollution in a year for California alone. Importing food not only creates pollution, but also puts local farmers and farmland at risk. Incentive to protect this valuable land is taken away and according to studies, the U.S. is losing two acres of prime farmland a minute to development. 
 What can we do? There are some simple things that can make a big impact. Look for farmers markets and food co-ops in your area. Join a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, and have local, in season produce delivered to you. At the store, look at where the food you buy comes from, and avoid foods that have traveled over a hundred miles, they will be fresher also! And if you want a real fun adventure, go visit local farmers and see where your food comes from, and how much different and better it is when it comes from a local source. 
 Every purchase is a choice, and every meal is a choice. You can do as much as you feel capable and driven to do, and each positive choice will have a beneficial impact on you, your community, and the earth. 

~Sergio Typhoon

Eat locally to think globally

  If you look in the store you will find food that has come from all over the globe. It may be an amazing distribution system that allows us to eat foods that come from so many places, however there is a hidden environmental cost to transporting food such distances. People who are aware and trying to help are participating in the local foods movement. 
  Most “fresh” food in the U.S. had traveled over a thousand, or even two thousand miles from a huge corporate owned farm. And more often, the food we are eating is coming from other countries. According to Natural Resurce Defense Council (NRDC), the typical American meal has ingredients from at least five other countries. This imported food is brought in by planes, ships, and trucks creating almost 250,000 tons of global warming pollution in a year for California alone. Importing food not only creates pollution, but also puts local farmers and farmland at risk. Incentive to protect this valuable land is taken away and according to studies, the U.S. is losing two acres of prime farmland a minute to development. 
 What can we do? There are some simple things that can make a big impact. Look for farmers markets and food co-ops in your area. Join a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, and have local, in season produce delivered to you. At the store, look at where the food you buy comes from, and avoid foods that have traveled over a hundred miles, they will be fresher also! And if you want a real fun adventure, go visit local farmers and see where your food comes from, and how much different and better it is when it comes from a local source. 
 Every purchase is a choice, and every meal is a choice. You can do as much as you feel capable and driven to do, and each positive choice will have a beneficial impact on you, your community, and the earth. 
~Sergio Typhoon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n7qCiakTME

Here’s our flagship song. Campers love this song, and they learn a lot from it. It’s the perfect marriage of fun dance moves, educational content, and a catchy tune. Please share with anyone you think might like it!

The Web of Life
By J. Sidel, D. Poarch, R. Widera
(To the tune of “The Game of Love”)


The purpose of a Bee is to pollinate a Flower
The purpose of a Flower is to feed a Bee
Together they both live in Har-mo-ny

:::Chorus:::
In the Web of Life (LIFE!), Life (LIFE!), LALALA,LALA LIFE:2X
Mountain Lion is a Car-ni-vore
Eats the deer and that’s an Herb-i-vore
They eat plants and I can tell you more
About the Web of Life! (HUOGH!)

The purpose of a worm is to plow the soil
The purpose of the soil is to grow a tree
Together they make oxygen for you and me.
(Chorus)

The purpose of the Algae is to photosynthesize,
The purpose of the Fungus is to make a home.
Together they make Lichen and they’re not alone.
(Chorus)

The purpose of our song is to heal the planet,
The purpose of our planet is a place to live.
The purpose of a human is to learn to give.
(Chorus)

Little Basin Camping & Recreation Festival: 4/26/14
Little Basin is hosting its 3rd Annual Camping and Recreation Festival on April 26th from 11-4pm.
Live music, food, vendors, family activities, natures hikes and so much more! Free admission with $10 parking fee.
Join us on Friday night, April 25th for the first Interpretive Programs of 2014 at Little Basin.
Friday at:              7-8:30pm  -  Campfire
                              9-10 pm  -  Astronomy
During the Festival…
Presentations by:
Felidae Conservation Fund
Monterey Bay Search Dogs

Tables:
Home Depot
POST
Felidae Conservation Fund
Santa Cruz Search and Rescue
Santa Cruz Natural History Museum
Wood Splinters- Wood working

Raffle Donations:
Big 5
Earth Balance
Eco Goods
Santa Cruz Whale Watching
Kayak Connection
The Penny Ice Creamery
Rainbow City Limit
Whisper charters
Natural Creations

Little Basin Camping & Recreation Festival: 4/26/14

Little Basin is hosting its 3rd Annual Camping and Recreation Festival on April 26th from 11-4pm.

Live music, food, vendors, family activities, natures hikes and so much more! Free admission with $10 parking fee.

Join us on Friday night, April 25th for the first Interpretive Programs of 2014 at Little Basin.

Friday at:              7-8:30pm  -  Campfire

                              9-10 pm  -  Astronomy

During the Festival…

Presentations by:

Felidae Conservation Fund

Monterey Bay Search Dogs

Tables:

Home Depot

POST

Felidae Conservation Fund

Santa Cruz Search and Rescue

Santa Cruz Natural History Museum

Wood Splinters- Wood working

Raffle Donations:

Big 5

Earth Balance

Eco Goods

Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Kayak Connection

The Penny Ice Creamery

Rainbow City Limit

Whisper charters

Natural Creations

The WOLF School Night Hike
by Heather Butler      

The night hike is an excellent educational opportunity at the WOLFSchool for students to learn both socially and academically.  As individuals, students challenge themselves to overcome fears about the dark, walking outside at night, and using all their senses.  As a group, students experience working together to stay safe, helping each other through rough spots, and supporting each other during a situation they may perceive to be scary, or difficult.  As a teacher, I have experienced the greatest fear from the students before a night hike, and the greatest success and pride in accomplishment after it.  Students repeatedly say that the night hike was the best part of their week at outdoor school.  After hundreds of night hikes over many years, the night hike is still my favorite activity during the week.
Beginning the night hike, students are completely briefed about rules and safety.  As their teacher, I have assessed them for a day and a half, so I know enough to be able to scale the night hike activities to challenge them appropriately.  Chaperons for the group are briefed, and all adults carry flashlights for safety.  Students do not carry lights.
The first part of the night hike is about learning to use our senses.  We start walking at dusk, observing light levels, shades of color, trying to smell scents and feeling if the air is different as the night falls, learning to walk slowly and how to place our feet carefully.  These skills are important learning opportunities and are important skills for safety as it gets darker later in the walk.  We learn vocabulary for evening studies:  nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, adaptations, astronomy, constellation.  We list nocturnal animals and their adaptations.  We listen for them, discussing where they might be and best ways to see or hear an animal.  We use our “deer ears,” using our hands to build ear extensions.  We test them out and share what we discover.
Heading out into the forest, we walk a bit, then stop and try to listen for nocturnal life.  We walk a bit more and test our eyesight by using colored markers, stop to check out a fluorescing millipede on the ground.  The students get a lesson on mammalian eyes and their adaptations, rods, cones, and the difference between coyote eyes and human eyes.  We talk about how to walk on a trail with a group, learning to place a hand on the shoulder in front of you, or following the white trail markers.  Later we will test our pupils’ reactions to light with a candle activity.
Next, they listen to a story about California Native American groups who used a rite of passage in which children proved their adulthood through a type of vision quest.  Kids are often familiar with this concept from their studies and understand the idea that it is a challenge, somewhat difficult and maybe scary, that a child faced to prove their bravery, strength, and ability to enter adult life.  They hear a story about a child who goes on a quest and succeeds, learning about herself and earning her new nature name.  I challenge the students to participate in a solo sit challenge on the night hike.  They have the opportunity to sit still on the trail by themselves for 5-7 minutes (while I wait nearby, but not visible).  During that time, they are to silently observe the forest, think about their community and those who have helped them in their lives, how they want to give back to the community, and what they want to do in the future.
Students sit one after the other on the trail like breadcrumbs until their chaperone hikes the trail 5 minutes later and gathers them up.  We meet as a group inside a hollow redwood tree, sitting in a circle on the ground.  The students whisper excitedly as bats fly overhead.  I light a candle and pass it around the circle, while students share their discoveries, their commitments to their community, their solo sit experience and their newly chosen and earned nature name.  After we share, we celebrate together in how brave we were, what an incredible experience it is to share the darkness and these experiences with friends and teachers.  I tell them a silly story about a falling star and let them chomp on Wint-O-Green lifesavers and make them spark in their mouths.  They laugh.
We walk back to camp carefully, listening for coyote howls and owls’ hoots, warning each other of the mud in the trail and the root sticking out, a giggling, shuffling group of young people who have a new respect for themselves, each other, and the forest.  We look at the stars, talk about light, identify a few constellations and a planet, and share a star legend.  Tomorrow we will revisit the experience as we write and draw about our experiences and thoughts during the night hike.  It is truly a life-changing experience.

The WOLF School Night Hike

by Heather Butler      

The night hike is an excellent educational opportunity at the WOLFSchool for students to learn both socially and academically.  As individuals, students challenge themselves to overcome fears about the dark, walking outside at night, and using all their senses.  As a group, students experience working together to stay safe, helping each other through rough spots, and supporting each other during a situation they may perceive to be scary, or difficult.  As a teacher, I have experienced the greatest fear from the students before a night hike, and the greatest success and pride in accomplishment after it.  Students repeatedly say that the night hike was the best part of their week at outdoor school.  After hundreds of night hikes over many years, the night hike is still my favorite activity during the week.

Beginning the night hike, students are completely briefed about rules and safety.  As their teacher, I have assessed them for a day and a half, so I know enough to be able to scale the night hike activities to challenge them appropriately.  Chaperons for the group are briefed, and all adults carry flashlights for safety.  Students do not carry lights.

The first part of the night hike is about learning to use our senses.  We start walking at dusk, observing light levels, shades of color, trying to smell scents and feeling if the air is different as the night falls, learning to walk slowly and how to place our feet carefully.  These skills are important learning opportunities and are important skills for safety as it gets darker later in the walk.  We learn vocabulary for evening studies:  nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, adaptations, astronomy, constellation.  We list nocturnal animals and their adaptations.  We listen for them, discussing where they might be and best ways to see or hear an animal.  We use our “deer ears,” using our hands to build ear extensions.  We test them out and share what we discover.

Heading out into the forest, we walk a bit, then stop and try to listen for nocturnal life.  We walk a bit more and test our eyesight by using colored markers, stop to check out a fluorescing millipede on the ground.  The students get a lesson on mammalian eyes and their adaptations, rods, cones, and the difference between coyote eyes and human eyes.  We talk about how to walk on a trail with a group, learning to place a hand on the shoulder in front of you, or following the white trail markers.  Later we will test our pupils’ reactions to light with a candle activity.

Next, they listen to a story about California Native American groups who used a rite of passage in which children proved their adulthood through a type of vision quest.  Kids are often familiar with this concept from their studies and understand the idea that it is a challenge, somewhat difficult and maybe scary, that a child faced to prove their bravery, strength, and ability to enter adult life.  They hear a story about a child who goes on a quest and succeeds, learning about herself and earning her new nature name.  I challenge the students to participate in a solo sit challenge on the night hike.  They have the opportunity to sit still on the trail by themselves for 5-7 minutes (while I wait nearby, but not visible).  During that time, they are to silently observe the forest, think about their community and those who have helped them in their lives, how they want to give back to the community, and what they want to do in the future.

Students sit one after the other on the trail like breadcrumbs until their chaperone hikes the trail 5 minutes later and gathers them up.  We meet as a group inside a hollow redwood tree, sitting in a circle on the ground.  The students whisper excitedly as bats fly overhead.  I light a candle and pass it around the circle, while students share their discoveries, their commitments to their community, their solo sit experience and their newly chosen and earned nature name.  After we share, we celebrate together in how brave we were, what an incredible experience it is to share the darkness and these experiences with friends and teachers.  I tell them a silly story about a falling star and let them chomp on Wint-O-Green lifesavers and make them spark in their mouths.  They laugh.

We walk back to camp carefully, listening for coyote howls and owls’ hoots, warning each other of the mud in the trail and the root sticking out, a giggling, shuffling group of young people who have a new respect for themselves, each other, and the forest.  We look at the stars, talk about light, identify a few constellations and a planet, and share a star legend.  Tomorrow we will revisit the experience as we write and draw about our experiences and thoughts during the night hike.  It is truly a life-changing experience.

  Our second annual Winter Camp was a huge success! We had a great group of kids, some of which had returned from last year and even more joined in on the fun this year. We even had kids requesting their parents to bring them more days then they had originally signed up for, because they were enjoying camp so much. “I love this camp!” was frequently heard.
  Each themed day brought new adventure, excitement, and knowledge as the students learned about animals, plants, Native Americans and orienteering. My favorite day was Adventure Day, when we made maps and found geocaches using a GPS. One group even saw a Peregrine Falcon while hiking around. Another highlight, was finding insects and arachnids and looking at them up close with the microscope.  We made lots of great art and crafts, played fun and educational games, and just enjoyed being in nature. Because it was so unseasonably hot and dry, we were able to spend even more time outside experiencing the forest.
  Big thanks to the Naturalists, Otter, Raccoon, and Typhoon, who led the groups, the parents who brought their kids, and of course to the kids for having a good time and making it an enjoyable week. I really hope to see the WOLF School Winter Campers again sometime in the future. Maybe this summer at Little Basin, or maybe next year at Winter Camp. I am also really looking forward to next year’s Winter Camp. Please contact us at the WOLF School to join in on the fun!

  Our second annual Winter Camp was a huge success! We had a great group of kids, some of which had returned from last year and even more joined in on the fun this year. We even had kids requesting their parents to bring them more days then they had originally signed up for, because they were enjoying camp so much. “I love this camp!” was frequently heard.

  Each themed day brought new adventure, excitement, and knowledge as the students learned about animals, plants, Native Americans and orienteering. My favorite day was Adventure Day, when we made maps and found geocaches using a GPS. One group even saw a Peregrine Falcon while hiking around. Another highlight, was finding insects and arachnids and looking at them up close with the microscope.  We made lots of great art and crafts, played fun and educational games, and just enjoyed being in nature. Because it was so unseasonably hot and dry, we were able to spend even more time outside experiencing the forest.

  Big thanks to the Naturalists, Otter, Raccoon, and Typhoon, who led the groups, the parents who brought their kids, and of course to the kids for having a good time and making it an enjoyable week. I really hope to see the WOLF School Winter Campers again sometime in the future. Maybe this summer at Little Basin, or maybe next year at Winter Camp. I am also really looking forward to next year’s Winter Camp. Please contact us at the WOLF School to join in on the fun!