Salamanders and Kestrels and Raccoons, oh my!

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Girls Outside saw all these creatures, or their evidence, and more last Sunday November 15 during our 1st – 3rd grade hike at Ijams Nature Center.

After going over our Leave No Trace principles, 11 hikers and four guides were fortunate enough to catch Lyn Bales sharing a kestrel in front of the visitor’s center.  The girls were eager to learn about this fabulous bird of prey, and had several questions to ask.

From there, we headed into the woods, towards the overlooks to Beaver Island and up towards the old Ijams Homesite.  Along the way, we stopped to read the interpretive sign about the sink hole, and imagine what it must be like inside.  12244470_10154510157420620_8596655128071451751_o.jpg

Snack time in the pavilion was a favorite, as was the pond where we spotted four salamanders to much excitement!

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Further on down the trail, back in the woods, we wound around the lilly pond, following these muddy tracks and discussing what might have brought this friend to this particular part of the woods.  12244664_10154500534105620_1969524899920647984_o.jpg

It was a cool day when we started, but by the time we climbed back up out of the woods to the visitor center, everyone was warm and tired and happy with new friends.

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Many girls and their parents were already asking about our spring hikes.   These will begin in February.  We’re looking forward to seeing these enthusiastic adventurers again soon.

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Daisies and Brownies ready to Hit the Trail!

Daisies 5On Saturday, Nov. 7th, Girls Outside guides Lisa and Miriam visited with Farragut Daisies and Brownie troops at Campbell Station Park to help them learn how to be safe and prepared hikers who respect nature, all while having a great time hiking on the trail ! These troops of hearty kindergarten through 3rd grade girls braved cool temps and wet weather to meet outside under a pavilion where they helped Lisa and Miriam pack their hiking backpack — healthy snacks, jacket, sun screen, map, and water, check! So sorry, stuffed Ernie, pet rock, and Ipad- we decided together that they should stay home! Then, the girls practiced their reading skills and discussed the principles of outdoor ethics called Leave No Trace, impressing Lisa and Miriam with their knowledge by giving great examples of what to do and what to not do to care for our special outdoor places. The girls also shared about their favorite things to do outside — high on the list was playing with friends, hiking, riding their bikes, and swinging. These girls are more than ready to hike now! They hope to join in a Girls Outside hike this spring to put their knowledge to good use. Photos coming soon!

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End of Season Hike: November 15, Grades 1 – 3

Brownies enjoying their hiking adventure!

This hike now has a wait list.  To add your name to the wait list click here.

The location of this hike has been changed from the original post.  Please read the updates below.

This year, our youngest hikers have the opportunity to close out the season for us.  It’s time to sign up girls in grades 1 – 3 for an adventure on the trails at Ijams Nature Center.   This hike is offered in collaboration with Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians, though you do not need to be a Girl Scout to join us.

What's that ahead? GIrls Outside Spring Hikes, hooray!

What’s that ahead? GIrls Outside Spring Hikes, hooray!

This approximately two mile loop hike begins at the Ijams Nature Center visitor center and meanders through the woods along some of Ijams less travelled trails.  Along the way, the girls will stop to overlook the Holston River, view the old Hay homestead and secret pond, and look for wildlife at the fern and lilly garden.  The hike will last from 2-4 pm. Hike leader is Miriam Davis 

Here’s a link to a pdf flyer: flyer_Nov15_2015

Click Here to be added to the WAIT LIST.  Deadline November, 11.

The hike will begin and end in front of the Visitor’s Center at Ijams Nature Center.  Parking at Ijams can be difficult on a busy fall afternoon, but there is plenty of space to simply drive up, meet us, drop off your girl and head out without searching for a parkign space.  Pick up will be at the same place.  Directions to Ijams are here.  Drop off is from 1:50 – 2pm.  Pick up is at 4pm sharp.

Every G.O. hike has at least 4 women volunteer chaperones, eager to share their passion for the outdoors with the next generation!

Please remember that each hiker must have a completed Health History Record on file. Your child’s immunization record is required as part of the form, and this can be obtained from your pediatrician. You can scan and email the form to knoxgirlsoutside@gmail.com before the hike or bring the completed form on the day of the hike. This form will be kept on file for future hikes, so you only have to fill it out once.

Each hike begins with a fun get-to-know-you game and a brief lesson, from Leave No Trace principles to fun historical facts about the trail and everything in between. Wear weather-appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes and bring water and light snacks.

While the mission of Girls Outside is to enjoy nature, we also hope these outings foster independence and so we encourage parents to let their girls do the hike on their own as a part of the group. Remember to leave electronic devices at home to better enjoy time in nature.

These hikes are free! Help us spread the word or invite a friend’s child by sharing our girlsoutside.org link.  To see the fun we have on our hikes, visit our photo gallery on Facebook.

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Younger girls usher in the fall with an exciting hike at the UT Arboretum!

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10 venturesome 1-3rd grade girls and their adult guides kicked off the fall season with an awesome hike at the UT Arboretum where they saw some “really cool stuff” as stated by one of the girls in the group. The girls enthusiastically identified numerous types of trees, including various species of  oak, conifers, junipers, and giant tulip poplars just to name a few. Additionally, along our journey through the woods, we stopped to examine a weather station sitting high upon an open field and learned how it constantly took measurements of the wind, rain, and pressure to help us know the weather conditions at any given moment and when they are changing. These budding hikers also used there keen powers of observation to spot numerous neat wildlife along the trails such as a daddy-long-legs spider, some remarkably big caterpillar nests high up in the trees, and colorful butterflies flitting about. Finally, when we discovered the wetlands ecosystem near the end of our journey, we also saw water striders and even a frog in action. The girls were eager to document their findings in their journals all along the way so they could have memories of their exciting discoveries. Over all, a wonderful time was had by all. We look forward to our next adventure in nature and hope more girls will join us to get outside!

To view more photos of our journey click here.

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Older Girls Celebrate Fall with Arboretum Hike!

Older girls take a break from hiking near the wetlands at the University of Tennessee Arboretum

Older girls and Girls Outside guides take a break from hiking near the wetlands at the University of Tennessee Arboretum

To celebrate the beginning of the Fall season, six excited 3rd – 5th grade girls set out with their trail guides to experience the amazing sights and smells of September at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge. Although a cloudy day threatened from above, we experienced great weather without a single drop of rain! We started our day by gathering in a circle to learn more about our hiking partners and how we can stay safe and smart on the trails. The girls thought of great ways we can be respectful of nature and other visitors by keeping the grounds clean, packing out all of our trash, and being mindful to stay on marked trails. We started our hike with a gentle uphill climb with the leaves crunching on the ground underneath our steps. We noticed butterflies, yellow jackets, caterpillars, and spiders hanging in their webs. Our girls were so observant and quickly asked about a mysterious cobweb mass high in the trees; luckily, one of our awesome guides was there to teach us about tent caterpillars and how they forage on small leaves, leaving behind a gray web tent. Our destination was the Wetlands, a marshy area full of frogs! Although we tried not to scare them away, most of them splashed into the water as we approached. We enjoyed exploring next to the water’s edge and ate our snacks by the water. The girls did a great job remembering to “Leave No Trace.” We studied our trail map to see how many miles we had covered and to decide the best course back to the visitor’s center. On the way back, we spotted a snake a few feet ahead to the side of the trail and watched as it quickly glided on its merry way. The girls noticed poison ivy and worked together to count the rings on a fallen tree to determine its age. When we got back to the Arboretum’s visitor center, the girls were super excited to share all they had done and seen with their parents. We can’t wait to get back outside for our next adventure!

–Post contributed by Hike Leader Sarah Darby

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Concord Park Birds and Fall Colors: Oct 4 for Grades 3-6!

Concord Park, here we come!

Concord Park, here we come!

Let’s look for the first signs of fall coming to Concord Park! We’ll be looking for early fall colors and late season wildflowers, and scanning the water and skies for birds with our binoculars. This hike and bird walk will be on October 4, 1-4 pm, for girls in grades 3-6.

This hike was cancelled due to low registration.

Your leader for this hike will be Kelly Sturner. Every G.O. hike has at least four women volunteer chaperones, eager to share their passion for the outdoors with the next generation.

Please remember that each hiker must have an up-to-date Health History Record on file. You may access, download, and print the form here. Your child’s immunization record is required as part of the form, and this can be obtained from your pediatrician. You can scan and email the form to knoxgirlsoutside@gmail.com before the hike or bring the completed form on the day of the hike. This form will be kept on file for future hikes, so you only have to fill it out once.

Each hike begins with a fun get-to-know-you game and introduction/review of the principles of Leave No Trace. Since birdwatching is featured on this hike, we will also have a brief lesson on how to use binoculars!

This hike is offered in partnership with the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians, though your child need not be a Girl Scout to join us. Hike day details such as meeting place and what to bring and wear will go out to registered participants. In the meantime — questions? Contact Kelly at knoxgirlsoutside@gmail.com.

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First Hike of the Season for Both Grades 1-3 and Grades 4-6 on Sept. 20th!

Usher in the Fall season with Girls Outside by getting out in nature! Join us for our first hike of the 2015 fall season on Sunday, September 20th at 2 PM. For the first time, we are opening up this hike to both younger and older girls by having two groups of hikers divided by age, both starting at the same location and at the same time. Therefore, girls in both 1-3rd grades and girls in 4-6th grades are welcome to sign up for this hike! Please mark your calendars! This hike will be at the UT Arboretum. This hike location was so successful for the younger girls last spring that we decided that the older girls would enjoy this hiking location as well!

This hike for both groups will begin at 2 PM sharp at the Visitor’s Center Parking Lot (the only parking lot) at the UT Arboretum.  Location map.  Address:  901 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

The hike will finish at the same spot and will be no longer than 3 miles. The 1-3rd grader hikers will finish at 4 PM and the 4-6th grade hikers will finish at 5 PM.

All hikers must be pre-registered by Thursday, September 17th.

Registrations for both 4-6th grade and 1st-3rd grade are closed for this hike, but please look for our 4-6th grade hike on Oct. 4th or our 1-3rd grade hike coming in November that we will be posting.

Your leaders for this hike will be Lisa Silverman and Sarah Darby. For further information please feel free to contact Lisa at knoxgirlsoutside@gmail.com. Every G.O. hike has at least four women volunteer chaperones, eager to share their passion for the outdoors with the next generation. The minimum number of hikers for each group is usually six, and the maximum is 12.

Please remember that each hiker must have a completed Health History Record on file. You may access, download, and print the form here. Your child’s immunization record is required as part of the form, and this can be obtained from your pediatrician. You can scan and email the form to knoxgirlsoutside@gmail.com before the hike or bring the completed form on the day of the hike. This form will be kept on file for future hikes, so you only have to fill it out once.

Each hike begins with a fun get-to-know-you game and a brief lesson, from Leave No Trace principles to fun historical facts about the trail and everything in between. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and bring water and light snacks.

The UT Arboretum is 15 minutes from West Knoxville.  A project of the University of Tennessee Forest Resources Research and Education Center, it is free and open to the public.  It is a wonderful place for young explorers to see over 800 species of plants, and the history of land use in our area.

On our hike, we will cover approximately 3 miles on several different trails.  Be sure to look for “trees with knees” as we start out on the White Pine Trail and Marsh Area, as well as awesome views up above a river bed and through a natural forest. Further along on Rock Pile lead we’ll look for evidence of early settlers tied to the name of this trail.  We will end up back where we started and extra time can be used to explore the Visitor’s Center Wildflower Garden.

While the mission of Girls Outside is to enjoy nature, we also hope these outings foster independence and so we encourage parents to let their girls do the hike on their own as a part of the group. Remember to leave electronic devices at home to better enjoy time in nature.

Sorry there is no rain date.

This hike is free! Help us spread the word or invite a friend’s child by sharing our girlsoutside.org link and this handy flyer for posting! To see the fun we have on our hikes, visit our photo gallery on Facebook.

This event is held in partnership with the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians.

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