Tuesday, May 4, 2010

South Bay March 24th, April1st, April 9th, April 22nd New Guinea, Rancho, Shoup Park, Happy Hollow

New Guinea Sculpture Garden

Our South Bay Tiny Treks class visited the New Guinea Sculpture Garden on the Stanford University Campus in Palo Alto. This amazing collection of native art and sculpture of Papua New Guinea was created on site during the summer of 1994. Ten master carvers from the South Pacific island participated in this project led by a Stanford University anthropology student. The works are in stone and wood. The stone was brought from near Mono Lake, but the wood works are carved from native tree trunks brought from New Guinea. Trekkers raced happily from one sculpture to the next to find the exotic artworks and match them to photos on a scavenger hunt page. Everyone climbed atop the crocodile slit drum and sang about monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile.
After snack and stories, we created a Tiny Treks version of the unusual New Guinea totem poles. Ours were made of paper towel rolls and decorated with pompoms, feathers and googly eyes, but were still very exotic! Class ended with a short hike to nearby Lake Lagunita. We hiked to the water's edge and spied hundreds of tadpoles! We scooped up some tadpoles in a bucket for up-close observations and then said good-bye as we released them back to the lake.

Rancho San Antonio

The South Bay Tiny Trekkers hiked the mile-long trail to Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio County Park. The prospect of visiting the Spring farm babies made it an exciting trek. We saw two baby calves, some fluffy white lambs and a whole litter of funny, playful piglets.
We stopped to watch the hens scratch and hear the roosters crow. There were ducks and geese swimming in the small pond in their pen and goats munching grass. We peeked into the garden to see what was growing.
But, the most fun had that day was playing a game of "King-of-the- Hill" on a big mound of dirt! Everyone had a turn at the top, then a slide down the hill and ended up with very muddy britches. Of course, it's all in a days fun at Tiny Treks!

Shoup Park

The South Bay Tiny Treks class had an exciting day at Shoup Park in Los Altos. We gathered at the playground to wait for friends to arrive. Soon, Trekkers spotted a baby Eastern Gray Squirrel who was fearlessly running up to people on the playground. Of course, this is not normal behavior for a wild creature. Lynn, a veteran Tiny Treks mom, knew just who to call for advice. We contacted the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, a rehabilitation and release facility. They advised that the baby was likely abandoned, hungry and desperate for help. Teacher Anne and Rocky Raccoon easily caught the squirrel who seemed to jump right into Rocky's furry paws! We turned a plastic supply bin into a temporary crate for the squirrel. What luck that our craft project for the day required little medicine droppers to mix watercolors. We had the perfect tool to feed the baby drops of water.
He was so, so thirsty and grabbed the dropper with tiny paws as he drank dropper after dropper full of water. Then he snuggled into some old T-shirts donated by a mom to keep the baby warm. Even as we had fun exploring the beautiful Adobe Creek meandering through the park, we took turns checking in on the squirrel. After class, Teacher Anne delivered our rescue to the Wildlife Center where he would join other baby squirrels until ready for release.

Squirrel Update: Squirrel #442 is doing well with a home-care volunteer and is expected to be ready for release in several weeks.
The Wildlife Center will contact us with details and we are welcome to join them that day to witness his re-introduction into the wild! We'll keep you posted.

Happy Hollow

What a beautiful and sunny day South Bay Trekkers had at the new Happy Hollow Park and Zoo! Safari Sam and Danny the Dragon were there to greet us. We entered the park, checked the map and synchronized watches so we could meet for snack and stories. Then, everyone was off to explore. Some Trekkers headed to Redwood Lookout to climb the Ranger Lookout Station, some visited Lemur Woods or Double H Ranch to feed the goats and visit the animals. Everyone shared their adventures at snack time next to the old Crooked House. We munched home-made blueberry muffins and yummy fruit salad while listening to lots of zoo stories. It was another fun Tiny Treks outing with friends.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

South Bay March 4th, 11th and 18th Henry Cowell, Bel Gatos, Pichetti

South Bay Class/ Henry Cowell

The South Bay Tiny Treks class visited Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton to marvel at the beautiful old-growth redwood trees.
Although the day was bright and sunny, the weather was cold and damp in the forest. But, that's perfect weather for banana slugs! We stopped to watch a bright yellow slug slowly cross the trail. Did you know that our Pacific slug is the second largest terrestrial slug in the world? They can grow to be almost 10 inches long. (The largest slug is found in Europe and grows to 12 inches!) We continued down the trail using flashlights to peer into the hollow, fire scarred trunks of some of the big trees. There, we saw some mushrooms growing in almost total darkness. We stopped to look way up at the huge tree that is as tall as the Statue of Liberty. And, we visited the Fremont Tree where famed western explorer, General Fremont, spent the night in it's massive hollow trunk. At the end of our hike, we stopped in the Nature Center where the rangers had a welcoming fire blazing in the fireplace. It was a very special day in a very special place.

South Bay Class/ Belgatos Park

Belgatos Park in Los Gatos was a fun expedition for South Bay Trekkers. We gathered at the playground while waiting for friends to arrive. From the playground, you might never guess that there are miles of woodland trails to explore! After singing with Rocky Raccoon at circle time, everyone took a paper treasure sack for collecting along the trail. We followed the trail along the creek and over bridges. We collected interesting sticks, rocks, moss, acorns and leaves. We stopped to splash in a tiny waterfall at the side of the trail. When the trail became too steep, we turned around and hiked back to enjoy a snack and some funny stories. For craft time, everyone emptied their treasure sacks onto the middle of the table and began to construct 3-D nature sculptures with clay. Every sculpture was a unique creation to be enjoyed as a reminder of our day.

South Bay Class/Picchetti Ranch

Piccetti Ranch in Cupertino is a much loved destination for Tiny Treks. We never fail to be impressed on this gorgeous hike to a meadow pond. Happily, we were greeted by the shrieks of a peacock. We soon saw him strutting about the farm and displaying his amazing feathers for us. We hiked the wide trail through an old fruit orchard and appreciated the beautiful view of Silicon Valley below. We hiked backwards for a bit to watch the trucks working at Stevens Creek Quarry. Although they are actually massive machines, they looked like Matchbox toys from the Piccetti trail. We soon arrived at the meadow pond and hiked all around it to sit under the old oak tree. The pond was very full after our many rain storms this year. We saw lots of ducks swimming and laughed when they dived into the pond and wiggled their tail feathers at us. We all went exploring at the edge of the water with hopes of finding tadpoles. But, no tadpoles could be found.
Instead, Teacher Anne discovered long strings of a gelatinous substance with tiny black dots inside. These were frog or toad eggs and they were amazing to see! With warm weather and sunshine, they will grow and hatch in the pond. We read all about frogs at snack time and sang "Over in the Meadow" and "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" as we munched on trail mix. Back at the ranch, we found the peacock sitting high in a tree. He shrieked at us and we waved good-bye to him. It was a perfect Tiny Treks day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peninsula, March 8th, 2010 Pichetti Ranch and Winery

Hi Trekkers!
We wonderful time at Picchetti Ranch this week. The peacock was there to greet us most mornings and we tried to sing and talk to him to get him to show his feathers. The kids (and parents!) were thrilled to see his beautiful show of bright green feathers. We celebrated "S" week during circle time being Silly, Smiling and Singing lots of Songs - Spider songs, 3 Green Speckled Frogs and Mr. Sun. We had a nice walk to the pond, stopping to look at the great views along the way. We had so much fun exploring around the pond - several of us saw Pacific/Western newts (we think that is what they were, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taricha for a picture and info). It was amazing how they would come up to the surface and dive below again so quickly. Back at the winery/picnic grounds we had a great snack - crackers, cheese and apple slices. We closed by putting Speckled Frog stickers into our passports and saying goodbye to the peacock on the way back to our cars. One lucky class got to pet the Picchetti pet rabbit and watch it play with (challenge?!) the peacock. Thanks for the great week.

See you at Palo Alto Baylands Nature Center.

Peninsula March 15th, 2010 Palo Alto Baylands

Hello Peninsula Trekkers!
What a gorgeous week we had last week at Palo Alto Baylands! I was sooo happy to have some warm, sunny weather - and know you were enjoying it to! We began our day looking at birds in front of the Nature Center - we spotted Coots, American Avocets, Egrets, Black-necked Stilts, and several geese and ducks. After circle time, we had a great walk down the path toward the Palo Alto airport. We stopped to find ladybugs along the way - most of the kids loved having the ladybugs crawl on their hands, and those who didn't want to hold them still loved finding them on the plants and watching their friends hold them. We continued on our walk, finding lizards, ants and more birds along the way. We stopped at the airport and watched several planes take off and land (so exciting!!) before heading back to the nature center for snack. We munched on Tiny Treks Trail Mix (pretzels, cheerios, dried fruit, almonds and sunflower seeds) then had a great time making fish and fishing poles during craft time. We also celebrated "T" week by talking about Tiny Treks and what great Trekkers we all are, counting to Two, Three and Ten, Touching our Toes and roaring like Tigers.

I hope you are all enjoying the start of Spring. See you next week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peninsula Feb. 2nd, 2010 WIndy Hill

Hello Peninsula Trekkers!!
We had a great time at Windy Hill this week. The weather changed daily making each morning a new adventure – we hiked and played in rain sprinkles, warm sunshine, wind and cloud cover! We made several stops along the hike, to pick up maps of the park (the kids loved seeing were they were going to hike), to get “fern stamps”, to play in puddles and waterfalls, to crawl over, under and around fallen trees, and to feel the moss growing on the trees. A highlight this week was stopping at our “bouncing tree” – remember how much fun we had bouncing? I think many of us could have stayed at that spot all day! We explored the pond (most saw ducks and coots, one lucky class spied some turtles sunning themselves on a log!) and had a picnic snack nearby. We ended class by making Valentine art and getting our weekly stamp (always popular with the kids!).

We look forward to seeing you next week at Arastradero Preserve.

Hi Saturday Trekkers,
We had high hopes that the weather was going to clear the morning of our hike. In fact, Pam was hiking on the CA coast where it was sunny! Unfortunately, we can't control the weather and the rain didn't clear up in time for us to enjoy Windy Hill. Thanks to all of you for your flexibility and for going along with Plan B (aka the Palo Alto Jr. Museum!). See you next week at Arastradero Preserve.

Cindy and Pam

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Peninsula week of Feb. 9th, 2010 Arastradero Preserve

Arastradero Preserve (Feb 9-13)
Trekkers had a nice time at Areastradero Preserve. We started class in the Visitor's Center listening to different bird calls (remember the songbird and quail sounds?), smelling leaves from bay and eucalyptus trees and looking at our hike on the map. After circle time, we took off on our walk. The trail was muddy, but the kids enjoyed looking for puddles and making footprints along the way. All the kids loved stopping to throw rocks in the creek - as always, I think we could make a whole class out of throwing rocks in a creek, kids really enjoy it so much! We ended class with a great snack and lots of stories about love and Valentine's Day.

Peninsula week of March 2nd, 2010 Redwood Grove

Redwood Grove (Mar 2-6)
Hello Trekkers!
We started off the week with a lot of wet weather - hopefully you all enjoyed some puddle jumping! Tuesday and Wednesday classes met at the Palo Alto Jr. Museum to escape the rain. We had so much fun playing at all of the exhibits/stations in the museum. We were lucky to get some dry weather so we went outside to say hello to the animals, splash in some puddles, climb on the tree trunk spiral and enjoy a picnic snack. Thursday, Friday and Saturday classes were able to meet outdoors at the Redwood Grove. We started class by making fishing poles to "fish" in the creek during our hike. The kids found sticks to use as their pole and tied a "worm" (popsicle stick!) to it. Fishing poles in hand, the kids were ready to set out for their hike. We stopped at several places along the creek to fish. I loved hearing what the kids were fishing for - rainbow fish, catfish, dolphins, sharks... even dogs! We enjoyed walking (and running!) through the redwood trees. All classes got to celebrate the letter R this week - Rain, Rainbows, Running and Redwood trees fit perfectly with the letter of the week. We got to sing lots of R songs - our tree song where we start as a seed and grow into a Redwood tree, Itsy Bitsy Spider in the Rain, Row Row Row Your Boat and Ram Sam Sam. I LOVED learning all of your versions of Ram Sam Sam - thanks for showing them to me. See you next week at Picchetti Ranch!