Students stepped back into time yesterday during their second Farm Days field study at Drumlin Farm. Robin Stuart, the Farm's educational director, coordinated the careful preparation and planning that went into the day's events.
When students arrived we split into groups of approximately 12 students with one or two chaperones. Dedicated docents led our groups through the forests and fields of Drumlin Farm as if we lived 1,000 years ago. We looked at plant properties and noticed how those plants might serve as food, building materials, or medicine. We walked quietly and carefully looking for signs of animal life. One young naturalist spotted a young doe just a few feet away from us. We stopped and watched for a while. The students also noticed fur, feathers, and animal homes all around us.
Later we visited a model of a Native American village of 1,000 years ago. There the children scraped a deerskin with shells, ground corn, and sat around the fire as journey cake cooked on soap stone. We also listened to an American Indian creation tale, and investigated artifacts of life 1,000 years ago including a bear skin, deerskin clothing, hollowed gourds, animal bones, and clay sculptures.
The young naturalists and archeologists, led by the knowledgeable docent, had a chance to learn in the field using their senses to "read the landscape" as they learned about life very different than today, a life that relied on a keen understanding and adaptation of the natural world. A worthy adventure.