This past Monday we went with the CAHFT (Chicago Area Homeschool Field Trips) to Lincoln Marsh for a wetland exploration adventure. Counting us there were six homeschooling families ready to hike the trails, face the mosquitoes, and explore wetland life. The 45-minute exploration was led by Jessica, a facilitator for the marsh.

Jessica started by laying out a blue sheet on the ground to represent a make-believe marsh. She then started asking the kids some questions about marsh life and what might live there. As the kids throw out different answers Jessica and the kids added things to the “marsh”–things to represent the plant life, the logs, the cattails, the animals, etc. Once we saw this representation of a marsh, Jessica then asked the kids to pair up and each take turns using a net to scoop up things from the actual marsh. If anything was found the kids were to add it to a small rubbermaid-like container that contain some marsh water so that at the end everyone could get a good look at what all was found. The kids were also instructed that they needed to make sure everything that was scooped out from the marsh was put back into the marsh since small living organisms that we might not necessarily see might be in there and we don’t want to disrupt their environment.

Aidan paired up with Luke, a four-year old boy who we have meet a few times before. While both Aidan and Luke are a little on the reserved side, they each took turns scooping out mucky stuff from the marsh and examining it together. Aidan scooped and he scooped but unfortunately, we didn’t find too many live creatures to add to the group’s “mini-marsh”. It wasn’t until the last scoop that he found two living things–one was a snail and the other was wetland water bug (that couldn’t go in the group’s container since it eats other bugs).

While it was a little disappointing not finding more organisms to examine and study, Aidan said he had fun and wants to go back to explore the trails and see more of the Lincoln Marsh. And I thought it was very timely to go out to a marsh and study different bugs and such since we had just spent the previous day at the Morton Arboretum seeing the Big Bug exhibit (which was way cool to see).

Until next time.