My work with the Waldorf School definitely has its perks. On October 17th, 18th, and 19th, I had the privileged of accompanying the 7th and 8th grade on their camping trip to the Shenandoah National Park. Aside from the many hikes we took, I initiated a nature observation exercise that we did on two occasions. First, we came together in a large circle, I then explained that we would all fan out and sit quietly alone for ten minutes and try to keep all human-made artifacts out of sight. During those ten minutes we would observe our surroundings and examine the quality of thought that emerged within us. Afterwards we would gather again in a circle and share our observations. We did this on two occasions, one in the evening and one in the morning, in our private locations. I was surprised and encouraged by the willingness and excitement the learners shared their thoughts. For many it was the first time they noticed some of the wildlife around us. My favorite comment came form one of the 7th grade girls — she took special notice of the lichens and moss growing all over the trees and realized that if she were to reach out and touch one of them she maybe the first and only human to do so. The observations generated some very interesting conversations about the nature of perception. Afterwards, Ms. Mulvihill, our outdoor specialist, shared an interesting perception game that tested the boundaries of sight — a learner stood alone, staring straight ahead about 25 feet away from everyone else, then one of us would slowing creep forward until recognized.
Below are some of the photos I took during our trip. Enjoy.