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A Forest Thanksgiving

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This morning we played a fun Ant Lion–themed game. Ant lions are local insects. If you don't know about them, definitely check them out! During snack, I shared a piece of history set in 1621 that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This story followed the history of Tisquatum (commonly called "Squanto" in books), a Wampanoag man that welcomed the new immigrants in perfect English. Turns out, he had spent 15 years in Europe already! We enjoyed the lesser-known history of Tisquatum and the feast that took place that autumn, and it perfectly set the stage for a day of feasting, sharing, and giving thanks. 

Each group visited their camps to check on the various clay stove/oven creations. We each set a fire blazing in them to help them dry out and bake solid.

We gathered up at the lean-to site, readying an additional cooking pit for the crowd and gathering armloads of good wood—dead, dry hardwood to be precise. The students transferred fire from the clay oven to each pit via birch bark "matches," and we were ready. A spit was made for our small chicken as well. We gathered together before cooking and eating to officially kick off Thanksgiving. Each student took an evergreen sprig to be ceremoniously added to the fire after their own words of thanksgiving, and we went around the circle, listening to each other's words and hearing the sharp crackle of the needles as they went up in flame. Max introduced an offering plate to which we added a pinch of each meal, to be offered in gratitude for all or our blessings in this world.

And we were off! Cooking away! The smells! The sights of sizzling food over flame! It was so pleasant to be helping each other, sharing the fire, sharing the food, and sharing good times at camp with all these great people. We enjoyed our feast tremendously.

The day was far from done. Out came the scavenger hunt. There were several categories for each team to find: Trees, Plants, Mammals, Birds, and Incredible Feats. Many items were directly related to things we had encountered before. Some were not! Some were ridiculous like making a human pyramid or stuffing the entire group into a hollow tree.

We spent the rest of the afternoon racking up nature points all over the Cobble looking for chewed nuts, chipmunk holes, animal hairs, seeds, ferns, woodpeckers. When all was said and done, each team tallied up the points from an incredibly close race. The Bobcats: 14,500 points. The Pine Barons: 15,500 points!!! We congratulated each other and wished everyone a great Thanksgiving break next week.

—Josh and the Cobble staff