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Warrior Cats of Creek Clan

This week and and especially last, the siren call of unusually balmy weather pulled most students outside. Many played roleplaying games and built things with the bountiful supply of spent plant stalks and downed wood. Others enjoyed the freedom of wandering outside without coats. One day when temperatures approached 60 degrees, a young student complained that she was hot and asked to go swimming, but the creek water is still too cold for that.

Warrior Cats has been a particularly engaging and enduring roleplaying game among students from age 5 through 11. It is loosely based on a book series, although Clearwater students have gone far beyond the books by creating rich new worlds, characters and scenarios. Many of these students are working with a staff member to develop and rehearse an original play using their roleplaying characters as a starting point. (Look for future blog posts about the play.)

For many hours, students gathered materials to build shelters and dens.

One group of students helped some of the warrior cats to build a beautiful medicine cat den (photos below) and spent some time putting together a lean-to separate from the roleplaying activity.

The warrior cats themselves, who are known as "Creek Clan", are prodigious and industrious builders, as well as a close-knit and harmonious clan. They care for each other and have a complex culture and well-organized structure. They have a leader, warriors and warrior apprentices, a medicine cat (or healer) and apprentice, and kits (the young ones), which they take turns caring for and training.

Clan gathering

More text and photos after the jump.

Leader cat and kits

Medicine cat den opening

Medicine cat herself

Medicine cat and apprentice

Medicine cat at home

Apprentice gathering herbs

More herb gathering

The warriors have their own den and the warrior apprentices den up nearby.

Warriors' den at the base of last week's fallen snag

Woodflight enters the warrior's den

Thistlethorn above the warriors' den

Woodflight relaxes in the warrior apprentices' den

Just today three of the littlest kits went out to the clan lands without the elder cats and sought to imitate those same elders by setting up a nursery and starting to build their own den.

End of post.

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New Bridge

North Creek, a lovely salmon-spawning creek, runs year round through The Clearwater School's property. Many students enjoy wading and swimming in the creek during warm weather.

April 2009 creek play

There is one bridge that provides access to the other side of the creek.

Watching creek activity from the bridge

The west side of the creek includes a couple of beach areas, a large open pasture with scattered trees and shrubs popular for playing capture the flag and a small wooded area, christened Creek Village by a group of students who have created and continue to develop the story of the village and their own characters as the village inhabitants.

The bridge pre-dates Clearwater's ownership of the property and the bridge deck has never felt as solid as a bridge should . A couple of years ago, we patched some deteriorating areas on the sides of the deck. This year it became clear it was time to replace the bridge.

Read more by clicking link below. After removing the decking, it was a relief to find that the upright posts, the horizontal beams and railings were still sound.

Rotten wood removed from bridge deck

Bridge bare bones with loose planks for workers to walk across

Tom Campbell coordinated rebuilding the bridge. He organized skilled parent volunteers to deconstruct the deck and rebuild it, salvaged and acquired sturdy materials and put a lot of his own time into the actual building.

Tom and Jonathan begin the rebuilding

In addition to Tom, huge thanks are due to Weylin, Jonathan, Matt, David, Chad, Eric, Bob, Ian and Kurt who donated their time and skill to making a sturdy new bridge, which re-opened in late October, about a month after work began.

Jonathan and Weylin attach new decking boards

Nearly finished after many hours and days of craftsmanship

Solid new bridge

A by-product of the bridge rebuilding is a new fire pit up the bank from the creek, which was created and used for the first time to burn some of the unsalvageable wood. No doubt there will be some wonderful gatherings around the fire pit in the future.

It is a pleasure to cross the new bridge, secure and sturdy enough to accommodate many thousands of running and walking footfalls across the creek for years to come.

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