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Wildwood Newsletter 3/25/18

Our apologies for the delay in the newsletters! So much going on with visitors, meetings, interviews and planning! Here are some happenings since we last wrote:

During the week before spring break, Sophia Weaver brought in a video about hellbenders and the need to preserve their habitat by not moving rocks in rivers…this awareness was brought to our change-up meeting, and the group that discussed this topic decided that we should stop moving any rocks in the river (other than small ones for skipping) until we could gather more information about how this affects the river ecosystem. Several kids who have been enjoying building a dam/bridge in the river were not happy with this new practice, and created signs “protesting” the limit on building with rocks in the river. Other kids then created “counter-protest” signs promoting the need to save the hellbenders, and there was some chanting back and forth as each group (pretty peacefully 🙂 ) paraded with their signs. After some discussion, Silas and Ray decided to gather information from river experts before the next WW day, in hopes that this would bolster their argument to allow building in the river again. Silas called the Department of Natural Resources and the Watauga River Keepers, and came back with a full report that he gave to the group…he was disappointed in what he was told, but shared it anyway: that although hellbenders are not likely to live in our section of the river, moving the rocks can disrupt the ecosystem here by altering the habitat for other river creatures (and could create difficulties for hellbenders downstream)…and that they recommended that we leave alone all rocks in or near the river that are bigger than a child’s palm. The kids all listened attentively to his report, and decided unanimously to follow these limits after hearing all the information. The whole process was fascinating to experience…something that emerged completely from kids’ interests and expressions of opinion evolving from 1) clashing viewpoints to 2) gathering information from reliable sources to 3) sharing this information and coming to a complete consensus…all in the span of a few days!

Over the past few weeks we have also been enjoying learning about a sample of eggs collected from a vernal pond in the bog. We had to first identify what they were…it turns out they are not  salamanders but frogs, and we had to closely observe what characteristics made this distinction. We built a habitat, learned what they ate, and how much oxygen they needed (Thanks Alyssa!). Several kids studied the life cycle of the frogs and how quickly they go through each stage. We found they are going faster through the stages because they are inside in the warm air. They are sprouting legs and we will be transferring them to a new habitat soon!

A group of kids has been working on a child-produced, directed, and led play (turned movie). The working title is “Where’s Hazal”. Sita has worked hard writing 10 scenes, and the whole group has been working on planning and negotiating the storyline, figuring out how a play should work, script-writing, acting, designing costumes and props, how to handle kids quitting and the need for commitment, etc…while getting a great deal of experience with collaboration, leadership, working through challenges/frustrations, listening to each other, speaking up when needed, using clear and honest communication, time management, and so much more. What they end up “producing” or not “producing” in the end is far from the greatest benefit we are seeing here…the process, and all the components and learning that are taking place have taught them so much about themselves and others. It’s also been very rewarding to witness how kind they are to each other throughout this effort, and how much they learn and grow through completely owning such a project!

Some more highlights from recent weeks include: super fun snow play, our first weekly visit from ASU theater student Caleb leading a drama workshop on “How to Be Hilarious” (timing, exaggeration, etc. and trying out our skills in a silly mini-play), chemistry exploration with Emma’s brother Jack, ongoing writing clubs (several unique and inventive stories in the works!), more ASU student visitors who will be helping kids with a project on learning about different cultures/cuisines, making bird feeders, rubik’s cube lessons from Ray, identifying mystery jaw bones found in the bog (Mike discovered through online searching the answer – we think- a white-tailed deer), hosting two students from ALC Mosaic in Charlotte (so fun to learn ideas from their ALC experience!), baking scones, poker tournaments, blog designing/making with Nicole, lots of French learning (and spending the day with French visitors David – who lives in Boone – and his brother Florent who is visiting the US for the first time!), a much anticipated and joyful surprise birthday party for Connor, sorting through photos for the yearbook with Alyssa, lots of games (Ticket to ride, Resistance, Dungeons and Dragons, Farkle, Qwirkle, UNO in French), a long and thoughtful discussion of technology use and media literacy, and reading aloud A Wrinkle in Time and Clementine.

Have a great week!



  • Thank you so much to everyone who came to our community meeting last Sunday! Notes from the meeting will be sent out soon.
  • Next week we will be on break Monday and Tuesday, April 2-3!
  • Parents are welcome at the ALC summer training in Charlotte if anyone is interested! It’s a great way to learn more about the model and philosophy, ask questions of other facilitators who have been doing this for years, and really experience what it’s like to participate in an ALC firsthand. There is a 3-day “Foundations” option (core ideas/theory/practices of ALC and exploring the “deschooling” process) for $225, and a 5-day option that includes 2 more days of offerings to dive deeper into specific areas of interest for $350. Spots are filling up, so if you’re interested please sign up soon!
  • The weather looks like it will warm up later this week..so just a reminder about supplies kids need to bring if they may want to wade in the river: a towel, AT LEAST one change of clothes, a plastic bag (or wet bag) to keep wet items, and shoes to wear in the water.
  • We have decided to postpone the “Adult Day of Play” until late summer or fall…we have been having trouble finding a day everyone can come, as well as having logistical difficulties in location for that many people. Our new location will be much better suited to having a big group of parents with us for a day! 🙂
  • Sita will continue to sell eggs from her family’s hens on Mondays at pick-up time, $4/dozen!
  • Anyone interested in helping to make a 2018 Wildwood Summer Camp happen? Let us know!
Monday, March 26: 
  • Caleb, ASU Theater student, is coming back for another drama workshop!
  • Catherine visiting to talk about women in history
 Tuesday, March 27: ASU Sociology students visiting to plan an exploration of cultures/cuisines with interested kids
Thursday, March 29: 
  • Our French friends, David and Florent, are coming back for another visit!
  • Writing workshop with Mark, 11am
Monday/Tuesday, April 2-3: Break (Wildwood closed)
Wednesday, April 11, 10am: Barter Theatre “Aesop’s Fables” 
  • Contact Angela Weaver if you’d like to get tickets!

April Potluck, TBA


April 2-3 – Break

May 17 – Last day

Future Community Meetings:
May (TBA)

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