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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Two Coyotes Uses the Wonders of Nature to Teach Kids....[CT]
    #11230377 - 10/12/09 01:10 AM (8 years, 13 days ago)

Not the best article, but I highlighted the funny part...

October 11th, 2009 - Middletown Press

Out in the woods, where kids listen for crows with their deer ears, and sit around the campfire discussing their hero journeys — that’s Two Coyotes territory.

It’s not just one place, but several: the fields outside the Ansonia Nature Center; the towering bluffs of East and West Rock in New Haven; plus spots in Hamden, Lebanon, Simsbury and Brattleboro, Vt. Each one is a woodsy outpost of the Two Coyotes Wilderness School.

“It’s a lot of running around, but I love it,” says Justin Pegnataro, 29, Two Coyotes’ executive director. “This is my passion, helping kids understand what their gift is that they can bring to the world.”

Two Coyotes offers a variety of nature-based programs for kids and adults. They range from arrow-making and animal tracking to fire-building and swordsmanship. There are teen programs, after-school programs, overnight camping trips and weekday programs for kids who are home-schooled.

“Nature, whether we admit it or not, is a foundational part of human development,” explains Pegnataro, who lives in Woodbridge. “In a world where we’re increasingly disconnected from nature, we have to foster these relationships.”

Pegnataro has been at the helm of Two Coyotes for more than a year. An earlier incarnation of the nonprofit school, founded by Scott Eldridge of Sharon, existed in 2000-02. “In a year or two, I figure I can hire more staff,” he says.

WILD THINGS

A recent weekday program in Ansonia draws a dozen kids, most from Greater New Haven.

Near a shade tree, they form a circle with Pegnataro and Two Coyotes’ instructor Karianna Rosenberg of Killingworth. They chat for a moment about the sights, sounds and smells of nature, from apples and flowers to cats and fallen leaves. They also create their own rainstorm, by snapping their fingers, rubbing their hands together and stomping their feet.

Suddenly, everything stops when someone finds a fat worm. “We must have brought him out with our rainstorm,” Rosenberg says.

For the next two hours, they learn to hone their senses in the natural world.

Rosenberg and Pegnataro have the kids use “deer ears,” by cupping a hand behind each ear. They also practice looking for things with their peripheral vision. Along wooded trails, Rosenberg shows them how to step gingerly, like a fox.

“Have any of you seen a wild animal up close?” Rosenberg asks.

“I saw a deer!” says one student.

“I saw a hawk. And turkeys!” says another.

“I had a chipmunk THIS close to my face!” says one boy, putting his hand about 2 inches from his nose.

Next, the kids put some of their new skills to the test. Half of them walk over to a field of tall grass and milkweed, where they attempt to mimic wild animals in hiding. The kids crouch, burrow, recline and sit stock-still.

“OK, we’ve got a colt, a red-tailed hawk, a tiger, a deer, a raccoon and a wild worm,” Pegnataro announces.

Moments later, kids from the other half of the group take turns walking across the middle of the field, looking and listening.

“Did you see any animals?” Rosenberg asks a little girl.

“One,” the girl says. “I think it was my sister.”

IT’S ALL NATURAL

Other lessons at Two Coyotes are more impromptu.

For example, when some of the kids stumble upon a puffy mushroom, Pegnataro has them gather around the fungus in a tight circle. He tells them about lichen and mold, and he points out that most of this mushroom is actually still underground.

“There are so many mushrooms that are dangerous, I wouldn’t recommend that you eat mushrooms you find growing,” Pegnataro says.

The kids think about this for a moment. Then a girl says, “Once my dad was biking and he saw this mushroom and got off his bike to touch it. But it was dog poop.


Meanwhile, Rosenberg gives other students a series of color cards and sets them about the task of finding items in nature that match those colors. It sets off a flurry of scampering, with kids scouring the countryside for flowers, insects, grasses and rocks.

Finally, it’s time for blindfolds.

Pegnataro and Rosenberg ask the kids to remove their shoes and socks, tie bandanas around their eyes and explore an empty field.

“How will we know we aren’t going to bump into something?” one student asks.

“You’ll use your other senses to help you,” Rosenberg replies.

Soon they’re all crawling around the field, giggling and offering running commentary on how the grass feels in their hands. It continues this way for several minutes, until the kids start peeking out from under their blindfolds.

They eventually clump together in a pile, wrestling and laughing.

“OK, guys,” Pegnataro says. “Let’s get some water and a snack.”


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Registered: 12/05/08
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Re: Two Coyotes Uses the Wonders of Nature to Teach Kids....[CT] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11230382 - 10/12/09 01:11 AM (8 years, 13 days ago)

I put my finger in dog poop while picking a few days ago....


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OfflineNastyDHL
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Registered: 04/04/08
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Re: Two Coyotes Uses the Wonders of Nature to Teach Kids....[CT] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11231889 - 10/12/09 10:52 AM (8 years, 13 days ago)

:ilold:


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OfflineNobodyImportant
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Re: Two Coyotes Uses the Wonders of Nature to Teach Kids....[CT] [Re: NastyDHL]
    #11233152 - 10/12/09 03:17 PM (8 years, 13 days ago)

I thought this was gonna be about children raised by coyotes :coleman:


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Registered: 12/05/08
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Re: Two Coyotes Uses the Wonders of Nature to Teach Kids....[CT] [Re: NobodyImportant]
    #11233245 - 10/12/09 03:34 PM (8 years, 13 days ago)

Believe me, so did I.


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