Palo Alto Tender Tracks Thursday March 6, 2014 Day 46

Waxing Moon

Another beautiful day.  There is a lot of work going on to help some of the children speak in ways that are more welcoming one to the other.  They are rising to the occasion with redirection and also doing exactly what they do at this age; learn about their feelings and how to have them without doing harm to others.  A noble task.
We had our circle right next to the bus and we sang our new songs then off we went to explore.  We did not find the on site Peacock but I heard it several times during the day.   As we walked Julian, Cole, Finn and Eden found a mud puddle and they played with Jill for awhile there.  The rest of them were with me.  Serena and I however, were up ahead at first, holding hands and listening to the birds. The others finally caught up with us.  Earlier, when we were all together, I had given the children a challenge to find, the Bird that has Blue wings with black lines in it and has a black tall crown.  When the rest caught up with Serena and I we all walked so very, very quietly listening,listening and looking. As we were doing this, what should we see but a wonderful little cotton tail rabbit run back and forth along the path we were about to turn onto to. Zac did his best to get close to it but, Bunny went hop, hop hop away as Zac got just a little too close for Bunnies comfort.  We then carried on and went down to a spot that I had found a lot of California Newts and frogs just the day before.  We immediately found some of the newts but as for the frogs, we only heard them throughout the day 🙁
The children were having so much fun with the Newts though.  And they learned a bit about how to hold them and how to take care of Newts.  Please read what I have copied from the web about Newts.
At the bottom of the excerpt is some info about the handling and care of Newts:

Fun and Interesting Facts About Newt

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Newt Facts

Newts are small salamanders that are classified as amphibians and are believed to have been the first aquatic vertebrates to inhabit the earth. Newts have a specific look and traits that make them different from regular salamanders. There are several species of newts, but all of them have the same basic traits, eat the same food, live in similar environments and have the same defense mechanisms. With that in mind, the following information provides some interesting facts about newts to those who are interested in learning more about them.

What do Newts Look Like?

Among the facts about their appearance, newts can range in size from 2 to 6 inches in length. They have long tails, short legs and are slender in appearance. They can be greenish, blackish or brownish on their top sides and reddish, orange or yellowish on their bellies. Newts also commonly have stripes or spots on their bodies.

Where do Newts Live?

When they are found in their natural habitats, newts live mostly in the Americas, though some newts are also found in the temperate areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa. They live under leaves, logs or stones in streams or in damp forest areas. North America has the highest concentration of newts and salamanders of any other continent, and some of the specific places where newts are found include the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. To that end, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is considered by many to be the salamander capital of the world. Since newts are a type of small salamander, they also inhabit these areas and areas with similar environments.

What do Newts Eat?

Newts are carnivores, so their larva in fact eat small insects and small invertebrates. Adults will eat snails, worms, fish and slugs. Their food is typically found in the same places that they live, and since they are stealthy and very quiet amphibians, their food sources are usually unable to hear them coming.

How are Newts Born?

Newts are not born like humans or mammals are, as they are instead hatched from eggs like other amphibians are. The female newt lays around 400 eggs on rocks or vegetation that is submerged under water, and it takes approximately five weeks until the eggs are mature enough to hatch. Newts in larval form are known as an eft. Factually speaking, some species of newts remain in their larval form throughout their lifespan and are unable to reproduce, though other newts develop into adults within 3 to 4 months. Eastern newts, which are found in the eastern areas of the United States, are known to maintain larval form, live on land and then return to the water to take adult form. These newts also lay one egg at a time going from rock to rock or plant to plant.

How do Newts Protect Themselves?

All animals, regardless of whether they are large or small, have built-in defense mechanisms that they use to protect themselves. To that end, newts secrete a highly toxic substance from their skin as a form of natural defense. It is because of this toxin that newts are considered to be one of the most toxic species of animal in the world. Due in part to this toxin, newts are not suitable for petting or holding, even though some people enjoy having them as pets in a terrarium. Just as the toxin that is secreted by newts can harm humans, the oils, the salt and the heat of human hands are toxic to newts. Different species secrete different toxins that are not tolerated by the other species, which means that they typically cannot coexist in the same terrarium. In addition, if you put different species of newts together in the same habitat, their skin secretions are likely to adversely affect one another.

FYI:  I and children hold Newts a lot but I always insist that if they are they must get their hands very muddy and or dirty or pick them up with a lot of debri on their hands. I have never seen a problem with this at all. I do greatly discourage children picking them up with getting their hands prepared, for the benefit of the Newt!

As the group that I was with was settling into being with the Newts Jill and the others came down the path on the otherside of the pond and landed in the area on the other side.  After climbing and exploring over there, one by one they all came over to the side the rest of us were on.  There was excitement about finding the Newts and then Juliette discovered how to climb up on this big fallen limb and jump off it. Cole and Zac thought this was GREAT and proceeded to do this with a lot of  “Look at me, Look at me!!!!” And so I did with great joy over their skill , self pride and accomplishments.  Finn discovered the great Eucalyptus caps and brought them over.  I said that we could make necklaces out of them but all I had with me was thin wire. So, we decided to use that. Then, the rest of the day was a lot of gathering of Eucalyptus caps and many of us poking holes in them to string them. There were many ways that we did poke holes in them: My leatherman awl, sticks sharpened to points, and then just pulling off the soft top part to make a hole.  Zac, Julian, Finn, Ridham and Eden all worked at this and some did the stringing.  Julian and Zac really wanted to make extra necklaces for their families and this meant that they needed to gather more caps.  We finally got enough caps for everyone at Tender TRacks who wanted a necklace.
While all of this was happening, Ridham created a great game from the story, The boy who cried Wolf. Zara really liked this game.  Eden tried to get her to go away from it or play her way but Zara was insistant that she wanted to play it the way Ridham wanted it played. So, they did that for awhile and then the game shifted.  I had asked Ridham about the game they were playing and he said ” Oh, we finished that game. Now we are playing family” and off he ran to play.
Finn and Jill had a GRAND time gathering all the wonderful Eucalyptus caps that smelled so wonderful.  Cole and Julian were very involved in their games and this became challenging for Zac as he wanted to play with them and they wanted some time alone.  However, two things took place after that.  Firstly, I aided him in finding an alternative to his strong desire to play with these two. He discovered making holes in the caps and how fun that was. Then, later, the three of them were back to playing together and he was delighted about that.  We were all mostly huddled in one small area most of the day being busy playing games near one another, gathering for the necklaces and stringing the necklaces.
A fine day indeed.

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