The guy behind the lens

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I'm a Science Teacher, Nature Photographer, Husband, Father, and Grandfather who loves to explore the natural world by traveling, photographing and thinking. 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Fun Campout!

As spring has sprung here in North Texas I've been a busy bee with lots of things that are not related to posting on the blog and as a result postings here have been few and far between.  As such, today 's post deals with a fun two days I spent with my sixth grade students on our annual sixth grade campout at a ranch in the piney woods of east Texas.

Our campout involved taking these "city kids" out to expose them to camping skills they will build on in later trips in the seventh & eighth grades in preparation for a 10 day backpacking trip they are required to take in the August before their freshman year. Aside from learning campfire skills such as fire building and cooking over the fire, we have fun with activities such as orienteering, nature hikes, a short "solo" / journaling  session, and of course fun games in a meadow. On this years trip, we benefited from the VERY early spring by getting to see a range of wildlife that we had not seen at this place in previous years.

Wolf Spider with Egg Case

Luna Moth recently emerged from its chrysalis

Ground Skink

At 9:30 PM as we headed back to our tents from my campfire reading of a short & spooky Stephen King story, we encountered this Copperhead snake just off the trail 15 feet from my tent. While clearly on alert and aware of us, the snake was not at all agressive ( and I was impressed that my young campers did not freakout in its presence. The ranch owners relocated it away from our camping area. These images ( taken with a flash) do not show how amazingly well camouflaged this snake was among the leaf litter. Even with flashlights shining on it, many people had trouble seeing it at first.

Overall we had a great trip and I am already looking forward to returning with next year's students to see what new critters we encounter! 


Marjolein Schat said...

That sounds like a wonderful program. I love the thought of building skills for a few years and then a mandatory trip. That is a great way to start the next generation of naturalists. Wonderful program, wonderful experiences, and amazing photos. I wish I were a 6th grader in your class... or that my middles school had a program like yours. Kudos John!


I was alright with 'em 'til I came upon the snake. I hate snakes.

Terrific images tho...

or should I say TERRORific.


Denise said...

What a fantastic program for these kids. Great nature shots, very enjoyable to see.

Elijah Goodwin said...

Nice images John and great program. I've got to talk with our sustainability/environment coordinator and see if we can start to implement something similar at our school.

Missy B. said...

Sounds like big fun!!!! Great shots!

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Anonymous said...

Love your blog, John, so happy to see a new post here! What an incredible set of images you've posted; the spider and snake really are spook-a-riffic, my friend!

Julie G. said...

What a wonderful program for the students! I wish we had something similar when I was a kid. Glorious critter finds on your trip. All your photographs are fantastic!

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

Sounds like a great program. Love your pics, esp. the copperhead. We had a young one get into our backyard, but before we could move it, one of the dogs injured it and we had to kill it. I would have preferred to relocate it. They are beautiful creatures if you leave them alone.