82 of Peregrine Family Take on Redwoods By Lorie Hammond

Camping trip to Richardson Grove enhances outdoor learning.

Imagine a group of children and their families
–walking on top of a fallen tree ten feet high and a block long, experiencing how tall a redwood tree can be
— learning from a park docent that redwoods are the tallest trees on earth, that they existed all over the earth in the days of dinosaurs, and that now they exist only in the coastal fog belt of California
–exploring the forest through a scavenger hunt, led by Teacher Pa, to find plants, rocks, animals, tracks and seeds typical of a redwood grove
–discussing a Walt Whitman poem, with Teacher Chris, about  feeling the soul of a redwood tree which faces a woodcutter’s ax, then writing your own poem
— tasting edible plants in the forest with the help of a docent, and learning how a dead tree is not really dead, but is rather a home for many decomposers
— watching bats hunt on the river at night, then hearing about nocturnal animals in the redwood forest from a young docent
Now combine all this immersion learning in the redwood forest with three days of community building, in which Peregrine families and staff cooked over fires and ate together, hiked and swam together, and got to know each other better in beautiful Richardson Grove State Park.  Imagine french toast and bacon over a fire, children and dogs eagerly lined up for bacon, and spaghetti and s’mores in the evening.  Imagine children running up and down the night mountain with headlamps on steep paths while parents visited by the fire, and a determined group of mostly boys burned sticks incessantly, reveling in making as much smoke as possible, while  counseled endlessly by parents and staff about campfire safety.
Imagine these scenes and you will begin to get a sense of what a Peregrine family study tour is like, and why we like to create one for elementary families in the fall, so that people can get to know each other better and experience cross-generational immersion learning.