Monday, April 13, 2015

Into the Wild

Our first spring hike was one of necessity, or at least one with a mission. A teacher friend found the tiniest, baby snapping turtle walking down her road last week. Knowing how our students would love such a find, she researched snapping turtles, and built him a miniature habitat, suitable for a trip to school. Our classrooms both shared him for a day and watched some YouTube videos to learn about snapping turtles. My students adored him so much that I think it is inevitable that I will need to eventually get a classroom pet.

So anyway, after a day at school, I brought him home for the boys to see. "Jeff," as my students named him, was a big hit with Lex and Eli as well. They found him a toy to play with, carefully observed him, and let him walk around our house and our front yard under their watchful eyes.

"Jeff" with a toy lizard the boys found.
After a day and a half in captivity, I felt like it was time to let Jeff go. He needed to be in the wild to grow into the turtle he was meant to be. I started preparing the boys. This was going to be a rough release, especially since there were shed tears over a centipede I told them to release into the front yard earlier in the weekend.

Sunday was cloudy, but perfect for a spring hike with jackets. Three Creeks, here we come!

Here we go, heading down the hill. Jeremy held on to Jeff for safe travels.

Look! Wild flowers. Ahhhh - spring!

And then we were to the creek, where with all the recent rain, there was actually some flowing water. We set Jeff down right by the creek, and he sat there sunbathing for a few minutes before he quickly (as quickly as tiny turtles go) headed towards the water. He stood on the edge and then dove, and I say dove in the truest sense of the word, into the water. His happy, bobbing head proved we brought him to the right place. Even the boys thought he looked happy. We all waved goodbye to Jeff and the boys promised they would come back to look for him this summer.

With rain clouds looming, we headed back up the trail.

Our boys have become proficient at this trail. If only this picture showed how steep this part is. But they absolutely love it.... and for the record, we are constantly teaching them how to be safe on the trail. It is not a free for all.

Oh my sweet boy. When did you get this big?

And this funny? You are my sunshine.

My boys, my boys. What a great first hike of the season.

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