January has felt like our first cold month of winter. We experienced freezing temperatures and lots of snow! Ice crystals were a very popular discovery this month! Ice crystals are called ice needles and they form from groundwater that seeps out and meets the below-freezing air. We have fun collecting these and seeing how many we can find! The littlest learners got to play in the snow on the Farmstead for the first time this year! We noticed how once the snow started to melt our schoolyard got very muddy! The abundance of mud allowed for lots of cooking and mud sliding! Some friends were sculpting different creations using the mud! We were able to be present in our bodies to notice if our layers were wet and getting cold. Changing layers and staying dry was an important factor this month. A few students noticed how when the snow melts it can drain into our creek. We also figured out that when the snow melts and flows into our creek it leads into Hominy creek which flows in some of our backyards!
At the beginning of January, we were able to find some orange and brown mushrooms growing on decomposing stumps and logs. Some friends also found three dandelions! Very few trees around the farmstead had brown leaves on their branches. As the month carried on, we noticed less and less hanging on. The trees became very bare and the only green left was found on pine trees. We know that pine trees are evergreens and they do not lose their foliage even in the winter.
Many birds were still present around the farmstead. We have noticed multiple woodpeckers this month looking for insects. It is easier to spot them now that the trees are bare. We spotted a mouse nest up near the littlest learner’s platform all cozy and ready for the cold weather. There are not very many insects around right now, but we were able to identify a few roly-poly bugs and some wasps on the sunny days. After the snowfall, we discovered animal tracks around the school! We think we found deer and raccoon tracks! The students got really excited to follow the tracks and see where they had traveled to!
As the cold weather continues lots of friends are wanting even more snow to play in. We are enjoying the freedom of going deeper into the littlest learner’s forest because we can see much further without plants blocking our view. We will continue our exploration throughout this cold season and see what plants we can still identify and learn about!