I am not sure everyone will agree with me, but the Covid-19 pandemic–as ugly as it is–has opened a lot of doors and windows. The Overfield School has transformed its natural surroundings into outdoor classrooms, making them very special areas for our students and teachers.
I have enjoyed hiking with the inquisitive Toddlers, who discovered caches of sweet gum pods, acorns, walnuts, and buckeyes; all foods the insects, birds and mammals will need to survive the winter.
Many of the students continue their interest in safaris, searching for the indigenous creatures that inhabit the Overfield landscape. Insects and amphibians are finding themselves on display in ventilated plastic containers around the school. Observation leads to curiosity, which leads to a desire to care for the captive specimens, researching diets and native habitats. The children often decide their tiny captives are best set free to be cared for by Mother Nature.
The Kindergarten class are watching over a female Katydid at the end of her brief life; the eggs she lays this fall will mature over winter, and hatch in the spring, continuing the circle of life. First grade students have been fortunate to observe Monarch caterpillars and metamorphosis this year. I get excited every time I spot a caterpillar munching on a milkweed plant, and absolutely thrilled to see one in flight. The southern migration is underway.
The Second and Third graders are planning on observing the Autumnal Equinox on Tuesday, September 22nd, during school hours. The semiannual celestial celebration of equal time between daylight and nighttime has been observed for thousands of years. The students have plans for dancing, singing, and costumes created from natural plants and fibers from our meadow and pollinator garden.
The vegetable garden was in full Halloween mode on Saturday night. Erin Barsotti, her daughter Luciana, and friend Alex helped cover our plants with sheets, protecting them from possible frost and leaving a serendipitous treat of ghostly figures looming in the garden. What fun!
Fall is definitely in the air –it’s a wonderful time to see our trees change colors, say goodbye to summer, and open our sweater drawers.
Deb – Overfield Naturalist