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Harriton House

Sophia Weinstein's picture

I had an amazing time on our trip to Harriton House on Friday. It started out really frustrating, not having the vans to go to Wissahickon, and knowing that we were going to miss out on a beautiful weather day. As it turned out though, I truly believe that our Plan B was exactly what needed to happen. I was recalling so much of what happened a few weeks ago when our trip to Audubon transformed into a bittersweet series of events. We had fought against the weather with a determination that as humans, we have the ability to 'outsmart' Nature and go on as best as possible, limiting our losses caused by the snow. We all agreed afterward that perhaps we should have 'read the weather' and instead should have given in to our limitations set by the environment. I think whomever made the scheduling conflict with the vans (or whatever ended up being the problem) was reading the weather for us on Friday. The sun and warmth, the crispness in the air, was begging us not to spend so much as a second in a van driving through traffic, navigating our way through Philly. We were meant not to vacate our current location, traveling to find a truly 'natural environment'. (Don't get me wrong, I look forward so much to going to Wissahickon this Friday!) We were, however, meant to read the weather and maximize our time spend outside, walking together, greeting animals, welcoming spring, soaking in the beautiful day. It was amazing to stand in a field of freshly opening crocuses and realize that the ground is literally buzzing with life. The bees were everywhere, and I had the sense that they were completely unaware of my presence, fixated on pollinating the flowers.

I also had the realization when we arrived that I had been to Harriton House before, ~10 years ago on a class trip in elementary school. My memories of that trip are not so fresh, but I do recall having once been inside the house (we did not go inside this time), and being shown the beekeeping boxes in the backyard. I don't remember having the same connection to the 'nature' back then that I experienced on this trip. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it makes me so curious about how having had a stronger Ecological Education as we are focusing on in Jody's class - particularly the ideas of authentic curriculum with emphasis on emotional and imaginative connections - may have changed my experience I had in elementary school.

I love that we are all experiencing a change in season together. We have experienced a ferocious winter, and are finally seeing flowers bloom and temperatures rise. I can't help relate it to the connections that are forming more strongly across all three of our classes. To tie it all together, our lunch in the 'outdoor classroom' was wonderful; being physically emersed in nature really echoed everything we are learning about, its importance and urgency. We were interrupted by the very loud noises of leafblowers near the end, and the fact that this connected us back into economical analyses of the costs and benefits of leafblowing versus other alernatives says it all.


smilewithsh's picture

I love this! and

I love this! and wholeheartedly agree!