Greetings! I am back with part of our vacation adventure that my husband and I took at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History CCMNH in Brewster, Massachusetts. Our story continues on the John Wing Trail, about halfway to our destination–the lovely Cape Cod Beach near Paine’s Creek. As we watchfully walked along, I continued to make lots of observations and connections including some that I can take back to the classroom.
One example of an observation I have made thus far is that the habitats of osprey can be found close to water. This makes sense because fish are a vital part of the osprey diet.
We had just crossed through the upland forest when we came to an abandoned field containing an interesting arrangement of stones…
Observation Point #4: Sachemas’ Field & Calendar
According to the site map, I quickly learned that we had arrived at Sachemas’ Field. For more information on Sachem click here Sachem. The stones are a replica of how Native Americans may have calculated time. This site is described as a Solar Calendar, a way of using the sun to determine the months in a year. Telling time was important to Native Americans as they planted and harvested crops.
Here I am below modeling the depiction represented above of how to determine the month in the year based on the sun’s position. This demonstrates the possible scale and use of the Stone Calendar.
Observation Point #5: Meadow
Once Seth and I had finished taking a step back in history exploring Sachemas’ Field, we hiked onward to discover this scenic meadow. According to the museum brochure, the meadow you see below was cleared in 2004 with the intent of ridding the area of woody plants and promoting meadow plant and animal life.
It is my observation that nine years later, it appears as though their goal was achieved.
The amazing landscape took my breath away as I gazed out into the wide open area. In fact, I could almost hear an operatic voice in the background singing as we looked out into the distance.
Observation Point #6: Mudflats
The next stopping point in our journey was the mudflats, a low-tide place reported to be quite busy according to the book “Mudflat Mania.” It has been reported to contain a vast array of sea life including such animals as horseshoe crabs, striped anemones, and quahog clams. Of course we walked around looking for these critters. We were thrilled to see small hermit crabs scampering around. This experience got me thinking about the abundance of life that one can find when observing a live coral reef aquarium. While on the surface you may not see aquatic life, when you get up close, you find a complex ecosystem thriving.
These mudflats are the highlight of a popular field walk called “Mudflat Mania!” guided by volunteer and teacher, Claudia Kren, Ph.D. “Mudflat Maniacs” are encouraged to look for marine animals that might be scurrying around, but Maniacs do not remove any natural thing from this aquatic environment. It is interesting to note a book has been written about this experience. The book entitled, “Mudflat Mania!” was written by Irene Ledwith who details the various types of animals that can be found during any mudflat experience.
Here is the link to purchase this book if you are interested: “Mudflat Mania”
Observation Point #7: Beaches and Dunes
I could feel the cool breeze of the beach rushing in as we crossed the sand dunes, our final destination. It was amazing to take in the sights and sounds as we dug our toes into the sand. We observed tiny fish banding together in schools swimming in swallow pools of water. Not to mention, we scooted around hermit crabs that were scampering over the sand. Of course I cannot forget to mention the sea gulls that squawked and carried on as they passed over us–So peaceful and calming to take in all of this natural beauty!
Observation Point #8: Paine’s Creek
After taking in the wonder of Cape Cod Beach, we headed over to the last observation point, Paine’s Creek. We trekked back to the wooded area but on a path opposite to the one we originally traveled. I snapped this site marker upon our arrival:
Standing on the highest point of Wing’s Island, I was pleased by the fact that we had another picturesque view–you could hear the birds chirping in the distance.
In fact, I was not just pleased by the view but by the entire trail experience. This is one trail I will take back with me to the classroom–not just for the educational value, but for the calming effect it had on me connecting with nature.
In those back-to-school days of craziness I can try to center myself by visualizing the tranquility of the experience walking the John Wing Trail at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, Massachusetts.
Until We Meet Again–
Wishing You Well