Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poudre River Trail Survival Field Trip - 4/2/10

Whew! I am exhausted. I am actually looking forward to some R& R in my mailing box. These Greeley kids have worn me out. Sophie brought me back early in the morning Friday so she could do her blog before the big day got started. When the rest of the class members arrived, they brought adults with them as well. There were at least 12 adults milling around, so I knew something was up.
I should have suspected something when I learned about which plants and animals to eat in the wild earlier in the week. We were packing up to head down the Poudre River Trail for a Survival Field Trip. The initial hike was brisk and beautiful. Spring is just arriving in Colorado and the birds were chirping. I stayed tucked in my carry case because it was a bit windy. We split into two groups at one of the trailheads. I went with Mrs. Sage. Once they reached their work destination, she read them a situation. It seems that they had gone on a bike trip in really hot weather, gone too far and run out of water. Their job was to find a water source, gather water, and then purify it. It was pretty funny when one group tied a water bottle with rocks in the bottom of it and then threw it into the lake. Someone forgot to hold onto the rope and it went in as well. Thank goodness for the wind because it all got blown back to the shore where it could be retrieved. After they had found and starting purifying water, they next were given a situation where they were on a long hike and had gotten lost. They were out of food. Their job was to find plants or animals to sustain them. The reeds and grasses were easy to find; the cattail was out-of-season. They did find and EAT rolly pollies, worms, and beetles. GROSS! Then I switched groups and went with Mrs. Vogt. I thought I would be safe away from that crazy Mrs. Sage...
Mrs. Vogt also had a situation into which the children had to immerse themselves. She had them act out the basic first responder aid for three situations: possible heart attack, snake bite, and possible broken leg. They did really well. I wish they had been on the battlefield in Gettysburg. They could have saved some of our soldiers. After everyone was saved, she then gave them another situation in which they needed to signal for help. They immediately started putting up flags with bright clothing, using their mirrors, and creating SOS signs on the ground. It was pretty impressive. I felt really safe.
Next, we all headed to the Poudre Learning Center for a deserved lunch. We only had 30 minutes to eat, but I still took time to look through the telescope to view the bald eagles nesting across the lake. It was an amazing sight. I am so glad they are our national bird.
After lunch, it was back to work. I went with Mrs. Sage again - you would have thought I would have learned by now - to do fire building. The groups each had a knife and flint. They were taught how to safely pass and use the knife, were reviewed with about the different order and types of materials necessary to start the fire, and then off they went. All three groups were successful getting a fired started even in all of the wind. I do smell a bit smoky. Then I switched to a group led by Mrs. Weaver, an employee at the Poudre Learning Center. She had created a compass scavenger hunt for us. My team was really great, and we located all of the items. By now, I was exhausted and windburned. I was ready for an afternoon nap, but it was not to be.
We walked a great distance to the edge of the Poudre River. Mrs. Sage read another situation card and the students were told to build a shelter that would house their team and protect them from precipitation, wind, heat/cold, and animals. I was stumped, but they took off and got to work right away. Mrs. Sage also let the adults play; they were to work together to build their own shelter. They lucked out because one of the dads was an avid outdoors man and they took small trees in a grove, leaned them to a center spot, tied the trees together towards the top, then filled in the spaces between the trees with grasses. At the end when we took our tour of all of the shelters, none of the kids would believe that the parents had had the same amount of time to build; in fact, some of the children believed the shelter was already there and that the adults had cheated. :-) I watched them build it, so I gave the children my word as a witness. Grumbling, they finally applauded the parents' amazing work.
Mrs. Sage finally said we were going home. We had to walk back 45 minutes to the school. I then collapsed in the classroom until Mrs. Sage finished getting the students off for home and Spring Break, cleaned up the classroom, stored the field trip materials, and turned out the lights. I did absolutely nothing last night!
Today, Mrs. Sage is packing me up for my next location. I hope it is somewhere warm and peaceful.

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