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 Week of Nature: Deer, Hiking, and Trees

A group of 15 fourth- and fifth-graders who will be attending Camp Cuyamaca next year received scholarships March 20 because of their creative and well-written essays about positive experience they've had outdoors.

To celebrate nature, outdoor education and these creative students, we're going to feature three of their essays each day this week. Here are three more:

Rylee Harness
Literacy First Charter School

I could smell roasted marshmallows, the tractor was rumbling loudly and bees were buzzing from flower to flower.  The grass was soft and wet, and even a few bunnies hopped around.  My family and I were visiting my grandma in Ohio, and we were all playing in her gigantic backyard.  My brother and I could feel the breeze against our jumping legs, and then it happened.   Three deer, a doe and two fawns, jumped through some bushes.  My brother and I paused, and so did the deer.  All I could hear were the parents' whispers far away.  One of the fawns started moving, then it started prancing toward us.  My brother started running to the deer.  Zachary, my brother, frightened the poor deer, and the deer ran back to its mom.  I was furious with Zachary.  I glanced back at the deer but they were gone!  That was an exciting day in nature because I saw deer for the first time!  I can't wait to go to 6th grade camp so I can explore nature and discover all of its exciting features!


Audrey West
Hill Creek Elementary School
Santee School District

Have you ever been outdoors and had a scary, exciting adventure?  Once I went to Mt. Laguna with my sister, Carly, and her boyfriend, Mark.  The day started when my mom and I went to Starbucks where she was buying a laptop from her friend.  Then we got a call from Carly and she asked my mom if I could go hiking with them.  At first I was unsure because I'm usually not out hiking hours away from my house.  On the way home I decided I would go.

When we got home, the day was warm but my mom dressed me in layers of clothes.  She thought it would be cold and she was right, especially at night! 

When my sister picked me up, I was excited because I noticed that my sister's dog, Bruiser and his doggie friend Barn were coming.

It was a long trip, but reading the signs that say how many feet above sea level you are kept us occupied.  We got up to 20,000 feet!

When we finally got there I was extremely hyper and excited.  We walked for a while until things started getting interesting.  We got to Big Laguna Lake, the water was really muddy.  We were grossed out when the dogs splashed around in it.

Next, we made a lean-to against two odd shaped logs.  I thought it looked like the one in the book "Hatchet."  That's where we ate lunch.  We had spaghetti with broccoli and hummus!

Suddenly, Bruiser ran after a deer, then Mark ran after Bruiser!  Bruiser came back after about five minutes but Mark never did.   We were yelling for him but he didn't answer.  It was going to be dark very soon.  We decided to try to find the ranger's house to get help.

Suddenly Carly's phone rang and it was Mark.  His phone finally got a signal and he was hiking down the mountain now.  We all met up and got home safely.  It made me happy to go hiking with my family.  This day was important because I learned that nature can be fun, but you must be careful too.  I am excited about learning outdoor skills at 6th grade camp.


Elise Jaremko
Torrey Hills Elementary School
Del Mar Union School District

Water trickled by me, rocks held the clear blue liquid back.  I stood on the edge of the stream, watching the insects jump on the water as if on dry ground.  After getting through the smooth rocks, water rushed away ready to begin its journey downstream.  The water would go past the elite blockade of rocks, underneath the bridge to some far off place I did not know.  I looked up stream to see the water flowing, happy to leave where it had come from.  I breathed in the fresh smell of nature, undisturbed, cool and fragile.  Looking closer at the water I tried to unravel some of its deepest secrets.

Turning my attention towards the trees, I saw moss covering them as a kind of blanket.  Their sturdy trunks held the dense leaves that every once in a while would try to explore the world, leaving the safety of their homes.  Leafy arms reached out above me, holding the sun in the sky.  The trees let small areas be illuminated, letting the water sparkle like some spirit, acting like a guardian to the stream.

Towering out of the water like a sea serpent rising out of the waves in the ocean, a tall boulder broke the surface.  Like the trees, patches of moss grew on the rock, adding a touch of green on the otherwise gray boulder.  I imagined sitting on top of the rock, I would have a perfect view, the stream below me, the trees above me, rocks in imperfect rows, nature in full bloom.

I would like to go to the Outdoor Education Program in sixth grade so I can experience more nature, see perfection in the imperfect and look at the outdoors in a new way.  That experience at the stream answered some of my questions, but got me wondering about many more that only nature could answer.