Editor’s note: Recently, U.S. Forest Service scientist Andy Scott took his son’s first-grade class on a nature hike to talk about forestry, soil, and anything else the kids wanted to know. They walked along the newly created Bradford Creek Greenway behind Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Ala. Noah captured the day beautifully. We offer his words as our tribute to Father’s Day.
My Dad came to my classroom before we went outside. He told us to walk only on the path because there was poison ivy off the path and a lot of people thought everything with three leaves was poison ivy.
When we went outside we got to see some leaves from trees and my Dad told us what kind they were. One was pine, one was sweet gum, and one was sassafras. It smelled good when you crumbled it up. Then we found out how you tell how old a tree is.
We found out that a tiny piece of dirt has 5 billion bugs in it. Some soil is red and some is gray because it has iron in it. Then we went to the creek and my Dad told us what foresters wear and do. One of the things they wear is a vest that has tools in it – like a thing that tells them how wide trees are – and they wear a hardhat and big boots. They come to the woods and see if trees need to be cut down. Some of my Dad’s research is to make sure trees grow back well when they cut them down.
Two of the things we saw were a fish and a crawfish. We didn’t see them in the water because my Dad caught them and had them in a bucket. We saw poop and my Dad told us what it was and how he knew what it was. He could tell it was from a coyote because it had a lot of hair in it and it was big. It started raining so we had to go in to the classroom.
And then my Dad turned into “Impossible Man” because he knew most everything, which was impossible for us. In the classroom, my Dad showed us some websites. One was how to become a Junior Forest Ranger. Another one was I Heart Soil. It was cool, and had three short videos.
It was fun with “Impossible Man”, my Dad.