Stick Caterpillars and Burdock Burrs

So though every week of camp we go over the same basic principals of gardening, each day and each session has something new and exciting to discover. Today our garden topic was weeds, however we discovered so much more in the process!

On weed day we go over our common weeds chart and practice identifying them in the weed garden before going to yank some out in the children’s farm. Today we noticed a weed that was growing in the dinosaur garden (and a bunch of other places) that I hadn’t figured out the name of yet. Today we looked it up and realized it was burdock (or what I had previously nicknamed elephant ear weed.) The burdock was flowering and had burrs on it so we decided it needed to go before it spread seeds everywhere.

So we eventually yanked it out and in the process realized the burrs were sticking to us. Naturally the campers thought that was awesome and started collecting the burrs…

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Also in the process of pulling out the giant burdock we found a new and awesome caterpillar! It is a stick caterpillar and has amazing camouflage. If it weren’t bent you would never know it was alive!

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The first day of camp: Vegetable gardens and farming

Today we started our very first session of Nature  Rangers with eight enthusiastic young ladies who are in first and second grade.  We started the day by making name tags and getting to know one another and then followed up with the story How Groundhog’s Garden Grew, by Lynne Cherry.  Once we had a basic overview of how food is grown, we went on a tour of the farm to see everything from seedlings being started in the greenhouse all the way through the process of harvesting and cleaning the vegetables.

The girls then got to experience weeding, watering, and planting both seeds and seedlings.  We planted melon seeds as well as 36 pepper plants of three different varieties.  The campers favorite part of the day was probably getting wet from watering (it got quite warm by noon) and many just enjoyed digging in the dirt.

Later this week I will let the campers add their own pictures and stories to our blog… stay tuned for further adventures!