On this official first day of fall campus is absolutely abuzz with activity. Instructors and teachers from all of the schools visiting this week reported a breezy but beautiful evening at campsites last night. The waxing moon, headed toward full on Thursday, lit up the night sky and reflected magically on the surface of the water. When I arrived on campus this morning, the first thing I heard was “Zowie, zowie, chin, chang, chowie . . .” emanating from the woods. Sure enough, a group of laughing and singing Mast Landing 5th graders emerged from the trail seconds later. They were making up new verses to the song and having a blast at it! They spent the day exploring the salt marsh, checking out our skins and skulls for an animal study lesson, and going canoeing. Instructors working with Nashoba Brooks students unanimously agree that this year’s 8th grade class is fun, eager to be here, and open to the experience of camping out. I observed one of their groups doing a great job of pushing themselves in the barn climb, our indoor ropes course. At lunch time today the entire class enjoyed a live “Owls of Maine” presentation in the Center for Environmental Education – I could hear the owls hooting from my office! This afternoon one group of Nashoba students is doing a service project weeding garden beds at the farm – their help is much appreciated! I caught up with one of the Rocky Hill groups just after lunch today. They told me about their adventures on the water yesterday. They had a fantastic day in canoes and visited an island way up in the salt marsh. Tonight that group’s instructor is challenging the students to use their new outdoor cooking skills to make dinner without any help from the teacher or Chewonki instructor – I’m sure they’re up for it! Other Rocky Hill groups report equally fun days. When they arrived, the Rocky Hill teachers told us that this was a very nice class – it is true indeed! Harpswell students spent the day learning about the history of the land here at Chewonki – exploring stone walls, shell middens, the old brick yard, the Pine-Apple forest, the old foundation, and much more. They also went canoeing and explored the salt marsh. Tonight they are coming in to the Center for Environmental Education after cooking dinner for a live “Scales and Tales” presentation. They’ll have the chance to meet our alligator and some other exciting reptiles! We had a 15-minute rain shower at lunch today, but despite the official start of fall, the forecast is calling for lighter winds tonight and a mostly sunny and warm day tomorrow.