February’s Littlest Learners Nature Notes

February was quite a warm month on the farm!  The littlest learners noticed that it felt like spring but knew it was a bit early. Lots of flowers have started growing and even blooming around the farm. We have identified tulips, daffodils, crocuses, Persian speedwell, purple dead nettle, grape hyacinth, daylilies, and even a few dandelions! We talked about what could happen if it gets cold again and all of these plants are blooming. Some of the littlest learners thought they could go back underground, while others thought they would die and return next year. One friend noted that maybe the reason all these plants were blooming was because they wanted to get a winter experience since they are usually blooming in spring. So many great ideas! 

The first green leaves that appear around our classroom are usually the leaves of multiflora rose. The leaves start to fill the boundaries around our classroom and close off our views of the school and other classes around the farm. We love the openness in the winter but enjoy the lush green forest that appears in our classroom each spring and summer!

One day as friends were running around the trails on a warm sunny day, we noticed some ants with wings coming out of a hole in the ground. Suddenly, it seemed as if there were hundreds! We talked about how the tiny ants with wings were males looking for a female to mate with. We could even spot the larger, almost reddish/brown queen ant when we sat still and looked around. She had many male ants seeking after her. The flying ants were filling up our nature classroom! We noticed every few yards, a new ant colony was flying around looking to mate. One day the air was so thick with ants we chose to eat our lunch in a different area downhill from our classroom! 

Blue, purple, yellow, and white butterflies have been spotted flying around! Spring sure does feel like it is in the air! Wasps and bees have been flying around looking for food. Beetles have been spotted in and around logs. We even found a big toad hanging out in our peace garden! 

Playing in the creek has been a way for the littlest learners to cool down in the warm sun. The littlest learners love feeling the cold creek water on their heads and shirts! We have noticed that towards the beginning of the month, we wore many layers of clothing – base layers under our clothes and jackets over top. Towards the middle and end of the month, many of those layers were shed! Almost as if we were moths coming out of our cocoons! Now friends are running around in shorts and a short sleeve shirt soaking up as much sun and warmth as possible. When the sun shines and it is warm out, we all find a calm moment to absorb the rays feeling just like plants receiving energy from the sun. 

Even though the groundhog saw his shadow telling the country we will receive six more weeks of winter, it seems like the opposite has occurred. Though this sunshine and warm weather may disappear, allowing winter to return, I know the littlest learners are very thankful for this time in the sun! Some call it a false spring, but we call it a spring preview! We are thankful for the weather every day in our outdoor classroom!

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