On Saturday, December 12th three ICO volunteers, Erin, Allison, and Giulia led by an ICO leader Liz met at Let’s Get Movin’ (LGM) in East Boston. Once there, slowly but with a lot of excitement, five children arrived. These children, between the ages of 8-11 are part of the lifestyle-change program. LGM “coach” Lisa came with us to enjoy the day in the Blue Hills.
At 10am when all the participants were present, Liz started the adventure with the opening circle in which we all had to say our name and our favorite animal. By the way, it turned out that turtles are very popular among children’s favorite. Who would have thought? As soon as our ICO water bottles were filled and some healthy snacks placed in our backpack, it was time to start our adventure.
We drove to the Trailside Museum parking lot, which was the place where our amazing trip begun. Maps were in our future leaders’ hands and lessons of the trail were taught by the ICO leaders. There was even a competition about who can pick up the most trash along the trail. With those children’s impressive orienting ability we were able to reach the summit in no time. The air was crisp at first but the sun’s warmth made that almost mid-December excursion seem like an end of summer hike. The sunlight passed through the leaves still attached to some of the trees, making the voyage even more colorful. After a pleasurable hike we conquered the top around noon. The joy in the children’s eyes was there because of the breathtaking view. The whole city of Boston was in front of our eyes. That gave us a sense of serenity and tranquility, making us appreciate the value of a nice hike in the “wild” even more. Coach Lisa made the walk back down even more interesting with some trivia questions, which were promptly answered by the five boys.
By 12:30pm we all reached the Trailside Museum where outside we got to admire a beautiful snowy owl, a couple of six-year-old white tailed deer, and a one-year-old red fox. They were all incredibly fascinating. However, what makes them so enchanting is the reason behind why they all live there and not in the wild. After lunch we all visited the inside of the Trailside Museum where we were fortunate enough to witness a live animal demo. We saw up close a majestic black raven. The trainer told us that she was at the museum because when she was little she got shot and lost a wing. For this reason, she is unable to fly and consequently to survive in the wilderness. The inability to survive in the wild is what brought all these animals at the museum. They are not there for show but to live a long life, which would be impossible without the warm and good heart of some of the museum workers.
Even if what we did was already a lot, it was only 2pm and we had time for one last hike. This time we went to the Houghton’s Pond. After our short hike the sun started setting down and a colder temperature surrounded us. It was almost time for us to go home. Well, almost because we would have never ended our day without our closing circle. Allison led an interactive reflection game similar to musical chairs, where everyone had to find a different spot along the circle if they agreed with one of the statements said about the day's activities. We also reviewed which animal everyone liked seeing at the museum. It was 3:30pm and the five boys and the adults as well were all, let us say… less energized than when we all started the day. However, that was not the only feeling within us. Thanks to that trip the five boys were able to install a deeper appreciation for nature and learn that we as human can coexist with it and even help it sometimes.
~ Giulia Ciaghi
Photos can be found here.