4-H Green Science Adventure Camp: Week 2, Day 4

Hello, everyone! Today was Fishy Thursday as well as a very rainy day here at MSU Tollgate Farm, but we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits. Mr. Alan and the counselors found the perfect way to show the peppers how life on the farm can be fun in rain or shine.

Red Peppers all prepared to go fishing in the rain.

The rain outside gave the peppers the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with my friends Mocha and Wendy, the rabbits. The peppers gathered in a circle in the barn while Wendy and Mocha hopped about in the middle. Wendy is a lionhead rabbit named for the long hair that makes it look like she has a lion’s mane! Mocha is a lop which the peppers can identify by her floppy ears. Wendy and Mocha were very excited to have so much space to roam that they did many binkies in the air. Binkies are kicks in the air and a rabbit’s way of expressing joy. The peppers were also very excited and gave Wendy and Mocha many affectionate pats on the head.

Mocha wanting a closer look at her new friends.

Before heading off on a fishing adventure, the little peppers learned a bit more about the environment fish live in, the pond. They took water from the pond (don’t worry fishes, they put your home back!) and identified invertebrates, or animals without backbones. The peppers also observed the muck of the pond (yuck!) and discussed what animals were consumers, producers, and decomposers.

Orange Peppers learning about the pond’s ecosystem.

Now that the peppers knew a bit more about the fish’s home, it was time to go fishing! Rainy days can be a great time to go fishing because fish are generally more active in low light conditions. The fish were certainly active during today’s rainy morning because some peppers caught as many as eight fish! Peppers learned that we use worms as bait for fish because most fish are carnivores.

Farmer Roy with a Yellow Pepper’s fish.

After an exciting morning of fishing, it was time for a snack. Swamp Juice Smoothie to be exact! Ms. Katie explained how smoothies are made and let the peppers blend all the ingredients. I bet the cold smoothie felt nice after a hard morning of fishing.

Red Peppers experimenting with clay, dye, and soap.

In the afternoon, it was time for the peppers to get their hands dirty to learn about, well, dirt. The peppers learned about heavy soil and sandy soil. Heavy soil, also known as clay, lacks air and tends to retain moisture and fertilizer. Sandy soil, on the other hand, has plenty of air so it doesn’t hold any water. The peppers used heavy soil to make seed balls, which are balls of clay and seeds that are great to use in dry areas because the seeds are not stimulated until it rains.

Orange Peppers exploring the dirt beneath their feet.

After playing with dirt, the older peppers spent time in the Maple Forest exploring and learning about the different plants and animals in the forest while the younger peppers went on shorter pepper hikes near the pond and visited me and the goats.

The Green Peppers observing Clifford and Brownie.

In the Garden Kitchen, the peppers made Blueberry Sorbet and chips and hummus. I’m sure they’ll be full until dinner time!

Red Peppers helping each other serve snack.

After snack, the peppers played a Bat/Moth game. The peppers gathered in a circle and one pepper was designated the bat and another was designated the moth. All the other peppers were trees. The bat was blindfolded because bats have very poor eyesight and rely on echo location to find food. Whenever the bat yelled “bat” the moth had to yell “moth” and the bat would have to follow the moth’s voice to find him/her. If the bat got too near a tree the tree would yell “tree” so the bat would know not to run into it. The peppers had a great time playing bat/moth and each bat did very well locating the moths.

Orange Peppers off to explore and play games.

To end the day, the peppers learned about different types of animals. They learned that herbivores eat only plants, carnivores eat only meat, and omnivores eat both meat and plants. Then they played a game where the counselors said an animal such as “fish” and the peppers had to run to the right sign. All the peppers ran to the carnivore sign when fish was called. Those smart peppers!

Look at all the fish that were caught by the peppers! There were many more that were already thrown back in the water.

I’ve had such a great week with my new pepper friends and tomorrow will be the best day by far! I can’t wait to see what skits the peppers have been practicing. I’m off to get my rest so I won’t miss anything tomorrow! Check out the gallery below to see our day together and visit our Facebook page to see more fun with Mocha and Wendy!

Until tomorrow,

Clifford the Calf

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