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Ann Courcy's Blog (48)

Bon Voyage to the Birds

 

"The red-winged blackbird is the true harbinger of spring." This is a sentence I repeat at least two or three times a year. I first hear it at the Connecticut Audobon's Eagle Festival. My children and I went to the festival hoping to learn more about eagles and meet the bird experts. The festival is held in February, when everyone is looking toward spring and the return…

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Added by Ann Courcy on November 14, 2014 at 5:07am — No Comments

Camouflage

While walking in the woods this afternoon, I found an Eastern Box Turtle sitting among the fallen leaves. At some point each autumn, I find a box turtle in about the same location. Today, I learned that they have a limited home range and spend their entire life ranging from…

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Added by Ann Courcy on October 18, 2014 at 5:35pm — No Comments

Take it Outside: Share a Hike

During the summer, my son William and I spent four days working together at Dinners at the Farm. As we drove back and forth to Barberry Hill Farm, we passed Chatfield Hollow…

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Added by Ann Courcy on September 16, 2014 at 12:22pm — No Comments

Go Wild!

Go wild. It's time. Summer vacation is in full swing at our house. With so much time together, occasionally, Stephen and Aurora get on each others nerves. One day last week, I heard one of the calls of summering children, "Stop it. Give it back. Don't." My reply was, "Please stop arguing. Pack some plastic containers into backpacks and get your bikes. We are going…

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Added by Ann Courcy on August 19, 2014 at 3:47am — No Comments

A Bluebird For Millie

"I want to catch a bluebird for Millie," Stephen declared one day after school.

"Catching a bluebird might be tricky. Maybe you could help Millie create a bluebird environment at her house. If she's successful, a pair of bluebirds might move in, build a nest, and have a family right in Millie's backyard. Millie could watch their activity, learn about bluebirds, and…

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Added by Ann Courcy on May 13, 2014 at 4:16am — No Comments

A New Puzzle in the Explorers' Classroom

A new rainforest puzzle was recently introduced to the Explorer classroom. One of the best parts of working in an educational environment is that something as simple as a new puzzle can inspire lots of learning and collaboration.

The long colorful puzzle features many exotic birds and animals that live in the rainforest.  As soon as the puzzle was completed, Ethan, one of the…

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Added by Ann Courcy on March 24, 2014 at 5:06pm — No Comments

Christmas 1994 to Christmas 2013

While looking through old photographs, I came across one that I had used for my Christmas card in 1994. My son William was two-years-old and in love with animals. He played with toy animals, we read stories about animals, and we visited animals at the Roger Williams Park Zoo all the time. In fact, for Christmas that year, we gave out gift certificates that read, "This…

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Added by Ann Courcy on December 24, 2013 at 7:15pm — 1 Comment

Take It Outside: Go Sledding

Snow on a Saturday—great! Who scheduled the recent snowstorm? My compliments. On Friday, we knew it was going to snow the next day. We cancelled our plans to travel and settled in for a day at home. No worries about piling up too many snow days that would force the kids to go to school until the end of June. Traveling to work wasn't a concern. I know, two Saturdays to go…

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Added by Ann Courcy on December 21, 2013 at 8:23am — 1 Comment

One Step at a Time

The summit of Mount Monadnock was our goal on a sunny summer day. Friday night we camped at Monadnock State Park at the foot of this popular mountain. Monadnock is said to be the world's third most climbed mountain, behind Japan's Mount Fuji and China's Mount…

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Added by Ann Courcy on October 17, 2013 at 3:22am — 1 Comment

Birds All Year Round

"Ann, I saw a tufted titmouse at my feeder this morning."

"I saw a red-bellied woodpecker at my suet feeder."

"I saw a red-tailed hawk in a tree."

"Me too."

This is how I am greeted at school each morning. Melissa and I are teaching the Explorers about birds and, wow, are they learning. In late October, we put a bird feeder in a classroom window. Tufted…

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Added by Ann Courcy on April 20, 2013 at 12:33pm — No Comments

As Winter Wanes

As winter wanes here are two books to put on the winter reading list for next year.

Earlier this winter, Jessica, our local librarian, visited the Explorer’s classroom. She always chooses fun, beautiful, interesting books that have a nature theme or are just off the presses.

Librarians are a great resource when looking for books to share with children.  And nature-based books provide a wonderful way to introduce and connect children to nature.

These are the…

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Added by Ann Courcy on April 2, 2013 at 12:51pm — No Comments

My New Year's Pledge

Just before Christmas, Aurora's Brownie Troop made coupons as Christmas gifts for their mothers and fathers. The coupons read:

  • This coupon entitles you to 1 big hug.
  • This coupon entitles you to 1 set table: knives, forks, spoons, napkins and even beverages.
  • This coupon entitles you to the last cookie, serving of ice cream, bit of chocolate milk,…
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Added by Ann Courcy on December 31, 2012 at 8:31pm — No Comments

Twas the Night Before Christmas

If a Christmas Tree Falls in the Woods...

Twas the night before Christmas, All the animals stood

In the crisp peaceful silence, Of their home in the wood.

The trees towered in might, Their branches did clatter,

As the squirrels come out, Of their nests, pitter patter.

The deer came together, they met, they communed

And from beyond the hilltop, rose the…

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Added by Ann Courcy on December 24, 2012 at 5:59am — No Comments

Night Tree

Three years ago I was introduced to a wonderful holiday celebration. Stephen was attending a great preschool and the holiday season was approaching. Notices came home saying that a Winter Walk was planned and parents were invited to join in. During the weeks prior to the walk-date the children strung popcorn and cranberries, dried fruit slices, covered pinecones with peanut butter and…

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Added by Ann Courcy on December 24, 2012 at 5:56am — No Comments

Amaryllis for the Holidays

Each year, I plant amaryllis bulbs for the holidays. I plant them for my house and for gifts. The recipients of these gifts vary, but their reaction to these gifts do not. All—family, friends, teachers, co-workers—who receive one of these dramatic plants are delighted and curious. There is something magical about a flower growing in the middle of winter. And there is something amazing…

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Added by Ann Courcy on December 18, 2012 at 11:40am — No Comments

Raising a Citizen

African Cats is a documentary that was released by Disney Nature last year on Earth Day. It is a true story that features two star felines: Mara, a lion cub, and Sita, a cheetah mother of five. Both cats live on the Savannah in Africa.

The film has the dramatic power that comes from…

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Added by Ann Courcy on September 24, 2012 at 7:04am — No Comments

Tune in to the Birds!

“Pay attention to the birds.” That is what I say to my children, my students, and visitors who come to Barking Frog Farm. There is a lot to see if you tune in to their activity. Watch for clues. During the day birds eat, look for new food sources, build and repair nests, patrol their area for predators that need to be chased away. In the spring, they also lay and protect eggs, feed…

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Added by Ann Courcy on June 29, 2012 at 4:24pm — No Comments

Every spring, I pass by yards full of daffodils and wish my yard was full of daffodils too. I especially like the way these bright spring flowers look scattered throughout a lawn or field. Last fall…

Every spring, I pass by yards full of daffodils and wish my yard was full of daffodils too. I especially like the way these bright spring flowers look scattered throughout a lawn or field.

Last fall I decided to buy and plant bulbs: daffodils, tulips, and crocuses. (…

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Added by Ann Courcy on April 27, 2012 at 2:27pm — No Comments

Follow or Chase?

I found myself having a familiar conversation the other day. At Schoolmates, we have a resident peacock. His name is Pickles. Pickles belongs to the farm behind the school and is free to roam. He often roams…

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Added by Ann Courcy on April 7, 2012 at 9:09pm — No Comments

The Owl Pellet

During a recent class hike to Berry Berry Island, I found an owl pellet on the side of the trail. I know a little bit about owl pellets and have heard stories of people finding owl pellets, but I had never seen one. What I saw on the ground was a dark gray felty-looking oval-shaped lump speckled with white shapes.

Ben, a boy in my class, was with me when I found the pellet. I…

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Added by Ann Courcy on April 3, 2012 at 12:33pm — No Comments

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