Getting Out & Getting Dirty

What a perfect way to spend the morning!  The sun was out, the birds were singing, and it was almost the end of Spring Break.  Time to Get out and Get Dirty!  This was the name of this morning’s class for kids in grades 1 and 2.  And boy, did we ever get out and get dirty!

Just to show you that we started off all clean and shiny – here’s our “before” picture:


First we walked out the trails.  Along the way Carrie showed us some neat things.  Here we are looking at a pile of blue jay feathers.  Something sure had a good snack!


She also showed us how to read the trail maps we passed along the way.  It’s always good to know where you are.


Our first destination was a muddy section of the trails, where Ellen showed us how to get good and dirty!  Some of us took this really to heart!

DSC_0944 DSC_0965 DSC_0971 DSC_0937 DSC_0976 DSC_0973

Others of us needed a little more encouragement.  Here Carrie shows us how to add some grasses and leaves to our clothes to give us a little more camouflage.  We needed to learn how to do this because our next mission was to hide in plain sight.


How many kids can you find?


Ta-da!  There were two of us buried in the grasses!


After playing a couple rounds of hiding and sneaking games, we had to run after Carrie up the hill and into the woods for our next project.

DSC_0978We built a debris shelter.  First we had to find a tree with a fork about 4 or 5 feet high.  We lucked out by finding a small group of trees that had one fallen tree at just the right height and angle for our main “roof beam.”  All we had to do was add the “ribs” to either side.


Some of us were really into hauling big branches over to use.

DSC_0985While others of us preferred to add the debris (dried leaves and small branches) to the outside.


It may not be rain-proof, but it fit all of us inside!


The nearby downed trees were a big attraction!

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Unh…unh…I can do it…I can do it…DSC_1028

Ta-da!  I told you I could do it!


Who needs a fancy, expensive playground made of plastic swings and slides, when the woods are just full of great stuff to climb?!?!?


All too soon it was time to go back.


We had two hours of fun in the woods – getting dirty and being kids.


When can we do this again?


When was the last time YOU went out and just played in the woods?  Come on out to Dahlem any time for fun in the forest.   The mud is free.


About Dahlem Center

The Dahlem Center is a non-profit nature center/environmental education center located on almost 300 acres just south of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The Center is one arm of the Dahlem Conservancy, which includes land conservancy and stewardship in its mission.
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