This past week we had 100 6th graders from 4 different Minnesota schools join us for 5 days of environmental education and team building. As the buses arrived…it rained. As we ate our first meal…it rained. As we struck out in the woods for 3 hours of geocaching…it rained. And what made this rain so much worse was the fact that it was accompanied by a solid 10 mile per hour wind and 40-degree temperature.
But somewhere squeezed between the raindrops and the gusts of wind, 4 kids managed to plant themselves in the right place at the right time to see one of those things in nature that most people read about and few experiences.
On the last night of the week, a few of us walked over to Hidden Lake (in the rain) and crouched near the beaver lodge in hopes of spotting the shy creatures in their natural environment. With any luck, we would get a slap of a tail as an exclamation point to the week. A young beaver finally showed up to entertain us with his fast swimming and stealth underwater movements. And although it was fun to watch him we were still missing that slap.
Then, just as we were preparing to head back (the raindrops had gotten so big that each one seemed like a water balloon hitting our eyelids and foreheads), we saw it. A large adult beaver. Swimming close to shore then…SMACK.
The kids jumped.
Then squealed with delight.
Then wide smiles and thumbs up.
“That was so cool!”
“Do you think they will do it again?”