Adult Yoga Class Sunday, 12/15, 2pm

If you are interested in practicing yoga in a natural setting while learning about our local flora and fauna, please join us for this unique monthly class on The Whirlpool Trails! Sunny Baker will be leading us in yoga and Katie Boyle will lead us in a short nature hike. This class is designed for adults. Children who are interested and able to participate are welcome, accompanied by an adult.

If you have questions or would like to register, click here and submit the contact form at the bottom of the page. Hope to see y’all soon!



The free play movement has been great. The staunchest of critics can see that a 2 year old’s play allows her to explore emotions, roles and experiences in which she is not quite ready to engage. It’s easy and joyful and important. We are just starting to remember that this is true for our 4-7 year olds too. But on Friday, with these 10 and 11 year olds, I sat back and watched them play. Truth: I almost cried, like more than once. They were practicing all sorts of complicated and challenging skills in their games (wolf family) and adventures (climbing trees, building a bamboo pole vault thingie). What I saw most is how they got themselves involved in stories and situations that allowed them to practice kindness, respect and encouragement with each other. They were doing it on purpose, practicing being good people and, in turn, just being good people. It has been an unexpected joy to see how free forest play creates a unique space that gently encourages kids to cooperate, to empathize, to listen, to help. Big kids need play too, maybe now more than ever.

Poetry Unit Begins…


This is our 9-10 year old class, Nature Writing and Plant Study. In this picture, I can’t tell if the the sun is lighting the girls or if the girls are lighting the sun. That’s how I feel about them most of the time. They are thoughtful and funny and kind. They are trying the interpret the language of the woods every week and every week I am amazed at the sight and intuition in their writings. We have been studying and making poems for a couple of weeks now. We asked them to pick a plant with which they felt a connection. After the wrote them, they chose to sing them. Out loud. Together. I KNOW! Amazing. Here is one for you to enjoy!


My loved plant, I love the way you sparkle in the sun. You are a fan of beautiful scents. The delicate little hairs on your arms. I know it is a forbidden love, a plant and a flower, but I can’t help it. Meet me at the lake at midnight. Sincerely, Billy Bob Joe








We made plant paintings at Wonder Walks yesterday. Goldenrod, pigeon grapes and muscadines, fern leaves, kudzu, black walnut ink (made by my wonderful co-leader, Katelynn Dillard 😊), red clay, sand, charred campfire wood, fungus. It was easy and beautiful and got their hands in the earth. We will do this again and often!

We’ve abandoned our old “main camp” this semester. We realized that although our numbers felt small, we had affected the landscape in a significant way. In the area we lovingly laid our blankets and babies, the mosses and ferns were eventually cleared, the ground flattened and then smoothed into dusty dirt. Newly treaded shortcuts became well used paths, wider and worn. And of course our beloved little Dirt Mountain, which had been used as a treacherous slide, a climbing wall, a hiding spot for secret clubs and a home base, looked very different than when we first arrived. It had patiently helped our kids to learn that they were stronger and braver than they (or I) thought. But today, it is plant-bare, except for the roots of the giant trees that the eroded soil has exposed. A few months ago one of those giant trees fell down. As they conquered the newly minted balance beam, we started wondering if our little spot needed a rest, time to reroot and regrow. The evidence of our impact was all around us. We are grateful to that place and will check in on its restoration. It was a good lesson for all of us and I couldn’t help but hope that these children would remember that just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. That they don’t have to use all of a thing, just because it is there to take. That they can care for a place, as the place has cared for them. Here are some Wonder Walkers today, at Forest School, forging a new path.


IMG_1982Saturday was the last official class for our Spring Oxford Wonder Walks’ Forest School (7-8 year olds). I can’t remember ever having as much fun in a class. For the last day, they performed LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD for friends and family. They adapted it, directed it and took care of their costumes — one little girl even sewed Red’s cape!! All through the semester, they showed the same enthusiasm for everything we did. And I can’t remember hearing one complaint. We swam and jumped through creeks. We climbed trees and dirt mountains. We hiked and explored new places. We got lost and found. We learned how to build a fire. We made leaf crowns and jeweled grapevine bracelets. We imagined ourselves as tree fairies and royalty. We made paint out of slime mold and painted bamboo shoots. We puffed puffy-spored mushrooms. We looked closely at scat and tracks and tried to work out what animals were busy living while we were away. We watched Mayapples sprout, blossom and fruit. We held beetles, snails, fish and fish eggs. We ate violets and smilax and honeysuckles. We read beautiful stories and poetry. I watched as they became friends and wondered about the wild world that opened for them every week. They designed the curriculum and jumped, laughed and splashed their way through it. They felt at home in the forest and this is what I most hope they carry with them to their futures. I am really proud of the work we did and can’t wait for next semester! Thanks to my incredible co-leader Katelynn Dillard! And to William Boyle for taking this sweet picture ❤️