Eyes At Night Hike
Hike Preparation at Home
Black construction paper
You will need to make two sets of eyes, one for the trail, and one for the poster.
1. Cut black construction paper into 16 2"x 4" strips
2. Using the picture below as your guide (print out and cut apart to make templates), cut eyes out reflective tape and attach to construction paper strips.
3. Attach one set of eyes to the poster board, and label each pair of eyes (see picture) for the group to use as a key when hiking
Owl- High in tree
Fox- 2' from ground
House cat- 6" to 1' from ground
Skunk- 8" from ground
Rabbit- 6" above ground
Deer- 4-5' from ground
Raccoon- 1 1/2 -2' from ground
Possum- 1 1/2 -2' from ground
Hike Preparation at Camp
Night Eyes Poster
Set of Night Eyes
Masking tape, string or thumbtacks
Do this during the day! The other adults with your troop should keep the girls busy (preferably on the other side of camp).
1. Pick an area or trail that gives room for several people to stand together, as well as an area that has room for a group to gather prior to entering the trail.
2. Using the poster as your guide, hang the eyes at suggested heights on trees or bushes so that they are visible from the trail. Avoid brushy areas that would obscure the view of the eyes.
3. Map the trail for future reference and retrieval (optional)
Leading the Hike
This hike is best done when it is very dark. Only the group leader should have her flashlight on at this time. Lead the group to the Night Eyes Trail, keeping your flashlight pointed to the ground. Have another adult bring up the end of the line. As you walk, you may encourage the participants to discuss the sounds you may hear at night and to listen carefully for them.
When you reach the gathering spot, hold up the poster and let everyone shine their light on it. Explain that you are going to be hunting for special animals on the trail. Only their eyes will be visible. Ask how many have seen night eyes when driving. How could they tell what animal it was just by looking at the eyes? Demonstrate by placing flashlight up beside your eyes (girls can do this, too). Explain that they will be looking for animals off to the sides of the trail and on either side of it. They will need to look in the trees and undergrowth. If they spot a pair of eyes, they should try to guess what animal they have found. You may tell them how many eyes are out on the trail. The poster is available to help them identify the animals.
If holding a contest for the most animals spotted, you may split up the group into teams at this point. An adult should accompany each team. Give the first team a few minutes head start. Instruct the girls to stay on the trail and walk with a buddy. Flashlights can be turned on now, but they should be pointed at the ground until they reach the beginning of the trail. After each group finishes, they should return to the campsite.
Retrieve the eyes in the morning. Save the eyes and reuse, if possible.
Variation: Ghost and Goblin Hike (Halloween)- make pairs of round or oval eyes. Use construction paper scraps to make irises for the eyes, if you wish. If you make a poster key, you may label the eyes "ghost", "goblin", "trick-or-treater", "black cat", etc.
Idea developed by Wally Brines, Naturalist at Woodlands Nature Center, DuPage, IL and Girl Scouts of DuPage Council. New format and variation by A. Robert-Curry, Whispering Oaks Girl Scout Council, LaGrange Park, IL