Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nature In The Wild - Parking Lots! 14/31


The March Slice of Life Challenge-hosted by Ruth and Stacey, at Two Writing Teachers 14 of 31
Tweet at #Slice2013











        To the back of my school is a berm, and when one travels up and over the berm, there is a wetlands, a stream, and a large park.  It was wilder when the school first arrived at these buildings about 13 years ago, but it is less so now, with smaller wetlands, numerous walking paths, and playgrounds at the other end a few blocks away.  In the earlier years I met one of my students at 7am in the morning to sit on the berm and observe the fox family that lived down 'in the wild'.  There were a few trees growing within the wetlands and hawks sat there looking for their meal tickets.  As a school, we periodically went out into this area and picked up all the trash the wind and people left there.  When we had a good snow, but no snow day, my students brought sleds and we sledded down the berm.  In other words, it was a magically wild place in the midst of a neighborhood and all of us visited often, sketching and writing and observing.





         Now the park is tamer, but these past weeks a herd of deer have moved in.  They often travel up out of the park, crossing behind the school to the south where other buildings are, across busy streets, ending up in a parking lot with trees and shrubs lining the street.  It's both enchanting and disturbing.  We don't live in a magical forest, we are in a converted air force base with those old, but fixed up, buildings looking very business like, with parking lots and many old plantings.  I drive through this area in the afternoon from school to home, and Isee the deer resting in the shade.  I guess they've had their meals from the evergreens growing in the area, and will shelter back in the park at night where it's safer.  We don't know where they came from, but probably followed the stream down from more open fields a few miles to the north.  We hope they will stay safe and worry that the children might see one lying dead by the side of the road some day.  For now, children stream to the windows to watch them sauntering by in the morning.  The kids love it, and so do the rest of us!

36 comments:

  1. What a wonderful experience for the students - to take their learning beyond the walls of the classroom - and what a great place for you to be every day.

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    1. Yes, we are lucky to have the open park area near. Thanks!

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  2. So many potential stories in this post! I love the idea of the berm and what it represents to so many people. Or what about the confused deer and their perspectives? So many places to find stories!

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    1. It's been quite an amazing time, Melanie. Thank you!

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  3. I understand when you say it is both enchanting and disturbing. My parents live in an area that is being more and more developed. The deer are not hiding much anymore. They surprise us when we see a herd crossing the road. We love to see them but worry about what this actually means for these wild creatures.

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    1. There are problems with coyotes in some parts of the city now too. I feel sorry for them, wondering how they make it. Thanks Margaret.

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  4. How cool is this. I bet it gets the kids excited when they see this!

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    1. Yes, very. There is one classroom very close & they have been observing as much as they can. Thanks Deb.

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  5. What an amazing sight! I love to observe them but too often they immediately leap away if they hear the slightest noise. I hope they will continue to be safe.

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    1. Me, too, Elsie. If I drive down one street & go slowly, they don't move, however, seem quite used to a car driving through. Thanks!

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  6. Ha! Reminds me of a trip to Yellowstone where we were disappointed not to have seen certain animals when we pulled into a gas station and there was a coyote crossing the parking lot. :)

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    1. Oh my, what a surprise for you, Irene. I've been there with students and we had some encounters that were a bit daunting, yet it is so beautiful there. Thank you!

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  7. Linda,

    What opportunities. It is always amazing when they decide to co-habitate with humans. At the middle school where I teach you can often see them outside.

    A couple of years ago I was in Helena, MT and took the "Tour" on the trolley. The "Tour" takes you all over the city and they tell you about the history of the town and some of the old mansions. As we got to the older residential section you could see deer laying in the yards.

    I am sure it was both magical and for some frustrating. Personally I was delighted.

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    1. It's amazing to me that the deer seem so complacent, quite calm, & perhaps part of it is because they are all together. Your tour story reminds me of Estes Park, where a herd of elk resides. It's become important for the tourists, but not so great for the residents. Thanks Ruth.

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  8. What a great location for a school! To be so close to nature is awesome! I live near a woods and often see deer grazing along the busy street...I'm always amazed as if it were the first time seeing one.

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    1. I guess we would be more used to it if we really were "in" the woods. I love seeing them too, never tired of it. Thanks Lynn.

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  9. Linda, we used your slice today to practice our strategy for context clues. Berm is a word that we're not familiar with so we enjoyed looking for clues to its meaning. Recently deer have started appearing all over our island. Almost every student has a story to share, so I'm looking forward to lots of deer slices soon!

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    1. how wonderful to hear, Ramona. I hope I will be able to read some of them. So glad you liked the story. Thank you!

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  10. What an unusual sight. In Estonia deer and moose sometimes get lost in human created environment, but it's usually single animals. I understand your worry about the animals. Few years ago I witnessed how a car hit a deer crossing a road in a village. The fright and saddness of that day are stll in my memory.

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    1. Yes, it can happen, although thank goodness the traffic is rather slow around her, mostly because of the children in schools. Yes, there are a few 'wandering' animals here too, but this seems as if they've moved in! Thanks Terje!

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  11. Where we live, we daily have deer grazing thru the front and back yards. I love to stand and watch them. Our deer don't seem afraid of anything. They watch us as we enter and exit our drive, get out of the car and talk to them. Max & I actually had one accompany us on our walk. Hope your deer stay safe.

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    1. Your area sounds wonderful, Judy. I know you live in the Ozarks, right? So beautiful there! Thanks!

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  12. How fun, Linda! We don't get to get into nature as much as we used to, so it's nice to see Nature stop by and say hi :)

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    1. What a great way to look at it, Maria. We certainly are enjoying them.

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  13. Wow -- what a gift! Is there a new version of "Make Way for Ducklings" in your future, Linda?

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    1. It would be great to do if I thought they might stay. We are getting rumors that the park service is trying to do something about their removal. Maybe I'd better take more photos? Thanks, Laura.

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  14. So neat, what a great sight for students to experience!

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  15. Amazing pictures! We often have deer (whitetail, not mule!) out our classroom window in the mornings. I've seen coyotes and foxes cross the road in our town as well. It's exciting to catch these glimpses of nature, but it is a little worrisome when they get so comfortable in the city. Thanks for showing us this peek at your parking lot visitors! :-)

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    1. You're welcome Jennifer. How interesting that you are having those same animals too. Too many? Too few other predators?

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  16. Those deer have caused quite a bit of excitement. Then the other day a coyote trotted through after the heard had wandered on. Maybe interaction of humans and animals would a good topic for a whole class unit?

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    1. Yes, it would. I do wonder how the herd is going to make it through the summer. thanks, Katie!

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  17. That is such a problem as cities become more and more built up and encroach onnatural habitats. I have seen deer afew time on the road by a river as I head to work. Twice in the past 2 years I have seen a dead deer on the side of the highway - they have left the safety of the woods and been hit. It is so sad.
    Could they be mmoved?

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    1. We think they're in the process of doing something. It's just not going to work as more people are in the park during spring and summer. I'll let people know when I know. But herding deer in the city is not going to be an easy task. Like many, we have animals coming down from the mountains for food, & then sometimes they don't know how to get back. You're right, a big problem. thanks Beverley!

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  18. So I'm sitting here tonight, trying to picture how in the world those deer could have gotten that close to your school, and why they would want to stay there. So cool for your kids, but am wondering what happened to their previous habitat that they have ended up with such an urban lifestyle?

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    1. For your info, all we can figure is they followed Westerley Creek down from fields around Stapleton, but we really don't know. We're trying to find out what's going to happen. Thanks Carol!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!