Saturday, September 7, 2013

First Friday in September Nature Study

 It was this sunset Thursday night the reminded me that we needed to do some nature study. We weren't able to leave the house but we did tour around the yard and found lots of stuff going on. I just have an average camera so please pardon the lack of detail in my close up pictures.

We took this nest out of the pine tree in our backyard (Scott/Dad assured us the birds were done with it) for examination. We discovered they used a lot of mud and it was perfectly shaped. We watched the birds build it this past spring. We also found that plastic was used to make the nest. See picture below for that.

There was a ton of activity around our Sedum plants. Many bees and Buckeye Butterflies were helping out with the pollination process.

In our critter search we found two tomato worms in the garden. We discussed why their waste is green and their life cycle. I learned that they winter in the ground as a pupa and appear as a Sphinx Moth in the spring. We may dig around in the garden over the winter and see if we can find any to watch.

We always find simple joys looking at seeds/fruits/roots of plants in the yard. Today it was the seeds of our Canna plants.

Our Oak tree is overwhelmed with galls. We talked about what caused them; a short search on the internet told us the gall is formed by a reaction to an insect. Larva usually feed on the gall. They don't seem to damage the tree but our tree is completely overwhelmed by them and we will be asking our county forester about it. 

Tyler during our bird watching time. It was a slow bird day. Caleb saw a hummingbird that went to check out the blooming day lilies but left as soon as he saw us. We heard some birds at the neighbors. We are looking forward to our bird study this spring!

We really are a nature loving family and enjoy these small discoveries. I find just getting out and seeing what you can find is the best way to study nature. There are books that can help clue you in to what to be looking for during different seasons. One of my resources for this is Natural Science Through The SeasonsBut, mostly we go out and explore than use guides or the internet or Scott to answer our questions on what we find. Scott and I do have science degrees but self discovery is our best tool in nature study. 

Other valuable nature study tools: Pocket Microscope (this tool works so well and was so cheap),  Handbook of Nature Study, One Small Square book series, For those in Missouri-the Department of Conservation provides many free resources (including magazines) and also offers numerous books on Missouri nature. The boys and I aren't drawers so we don't carry nature journals for drawing but instead take our cameras and photograph our journey. We have a scrapbook dedicated to all the pictures we take.

Nature study isn't just for home schooling families; it's a great family activity for all.

Tell me about your nature study adventures!

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