Nature Around the Net

October 25, 2014

Peggy's Cove Sea-1

 

A variety of cool things have come across our screens this week. We hope they provide a wee bit of inspiration to get out there and explore!

- There were so many great news links over at the Children & Nature Network site this week!

- More completely amazing news about Megalodon.

- Do you have a daredevil space lover at your house? They may want to watch this!

- The Pixie Cup and The Midge!

Have you found any interesting nature related things on the web this week? Please share on the comments or over on Facebook or Twitter!

 

P.S. You still have time to enter the giveaway!

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Earlier this week Emily shared a great Tinkerlab post filled with printmaking inspiration. We were inspired!

As we walked around the yard that morning we looked for things that would be fun to use in a printing project. All of the fall leaves swirling around in the wind seemed to call to us. It is no wonder there are so many fall leaf inspired crafts out there. They beg to be used for all manner of creation!

We played around a bit but eventually figured out that the use of mostly dry tube watercolors make beautiful prints.

What you need: 

Leaves that are still subtle and not too dried out

tube watercolor paints (If you have not worked with them before they are a great addition to your paint collection!)

paint brush

watercolor paper (heavy card stock might work as well)

a little bit of water

plexiglass or another flat object for pressing

 

What you do:

We squeezed just a bit of tube watercolor paint onto our pallet in our chosen colors and added only a slight amount of water to each color. (We are talking super tiny amounts of water here, folks!)

Using a dry paintbrush we brushed the paint onto the bottom of our leaf.

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Then we laid the leaf, paint side down, onto the paper.

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While you can press with your hands only it does not make for an even print, so we decided to use some plexiglass to help press the whole surface of the leaf evenly. (We have a stash of old plexi lids from old toy containers.) You could use any ridged flat object such as a book or cardboard. Just be sure to press really well around the larger veins of the leaf.

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After pressing pull the leaf away from the paper and marvel over your beautiful print!

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Play around with colors. You don’t have to stick to the fall color pallet. You may want to try some pastel leaves or even print a few with other holiday colors for future card making!

Have fun printing!

P.S. If you make some leaf prints of your own please share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #mudtometeors. We would love to see your prints!

 

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FALL 2014

While Home|School|Life is certainly a homeschooling magazine at its core, the content inside extends beyond homeschooling into topics related to parenting, nature study, art and more.

Within each issue we have found wonderful pieces on creating with children, sharing the ups and downs of family life, and exploring nature. The editors have recruited some wonderful voices from the community to contribute insightful articles and essays, published alongside regular columns on art and nature study.

It is, in essence, the homeschool/parenting magazine we have always wanted, all bundled up with beautiful photography, useful and relevant resources, and a crisp inviting layout.

The Giveaway

The editors at Home|School|Life have offered three digital issues of the Fall edition for a giveaway. 

To enter please leave a comment on this post.

If you would like to share which aspect of nature study is most important to you we would love to read about that in your comment.

To get extra entries share on Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite social media outlet, then come back here and let us know what you did in a separate comment.

Please be sure to leave your email address in the available box when you comment.

Three winners will be announced on Monday, October 27th. 

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Pink earth is a wonderful example of just how beautifully strange nature can be. At first glance it may look like a fungi but it is actually a lichen that is commonly found in disturbed areas like roadsides.

Read on to find out a bit more about pink earth lichen as well as to download printable sheets of useful photos and information about them. Each Wednesday, check the bottom of the “What’s That?” post to find a PDF containing a fact sheet about the day’s featured item, as well as photographs and other resources ideal for using in a nature journal, interactive notebook, or lap book.

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Some Things to Know About Pink Earth Lichen

- Lichen are created by a symbiotic relationship between a fungi and an algae or cyanobacteria.

- This small lichen has a pink to peach colored top growing out of a gray colored body, or thallus.

- Pink earth lichen grows in marginal soil with high clay content.

- It is commonly found on roadsides and other disturbed areas.

- In the U.S. it is found east of the Mississippi River and in Canada it is common the eastern provinces.

Resources

More detailed information can be found here.

 

Click here to download the pink earth lichen nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

 

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Nature In Your Neighborhood is a weekly feature that focuses on the nature that we all interact with in our everyday lives. Through the window of these posts you can catch glimpses of nature in action in locations across the country (and sometimes beyond). 

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Mushrooms are a popular subject of nature study and observation. There has certainly been a lot of fun fungi sharing on the Facebook group.

Today we are sharing a few amazing mushroom photos from Corrie, who lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an extremely talented photographer, but also has a keen eye for nature and is a skilled naturalist as well.

Hygrocybe PsittacinaParrot Waxcap

Hygrocybe psittacina

Autumn Mycenas

Autumn mycenas

Click on the photos above to go check them out on Flickr and leave Corrie a comment, or let us know what you think in the comments here or on Facebook.

Do you love discovering mushrooms along the trail?

Corrie also creates magical water drop photos. You can peek at her amazing photostream here

Thanks for contributing to the group, Corrie!

A Note About Contributing to Nature In Your Neighborhood:

Did you find a bug on the sidewalk and look it up in a guide book? Have you seen a mama or papa bird feeding babies? Are you seeing the seasons begin to change in your neighbourhood? Did you see some neat clouds and call out shapes? Did you make a habitat to observe insects? What questions did your kids ask when you found something out on your nature walk?

We would love to hear more about your experience!

If you would like to contribute please either add a photo or two with a short description to the Flickr group, post it to the Facebook Group, or shoot us an email with your photo(s) and a few sentences about your experience at: kidsandnature (at) gmail (dot) com. (Please also include your location (your state or country is fine).

We would also love to highlight photos and descriptions from young naturalist out there. If your child would like to contribute a photo of what they found, and tell us a little about it, please encourage them to do so and we will spotlight them in a “Young Naturalist” post. (Don’t worry so much about photo quality. We would love to share their work!)

We are looking forward to sharing your nature finds and continuing to encourage families to look high and low for nature all around.

 

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Nature Quotes

October 19, 2014

Thoreau Quote

Have a wonderful Sunday taking in all the season has to offer.

~ Dawn & Annie

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Nature Around the Net

October 18, 2014

Fall Frost-1

We hope you had the chance to get out and enjoy the beauty of fall this last week.

Here are a few link of inspiration for exploration this weekend!

- Kristy shared about her amazing encounters with Grizzly Bears (and lots of great information) over on Fog and Swell. While you are on her blog pop over to her shop to check out her amazing creations!

- Imagine Childhood is having a book Anniversary giveaway!

- These camera trap images from around the world were fun to explore.

- Is your fall foliage at the peek of the season? Check it out on this neat U.S. Fall Foliage Map!

- This time-lapse video of Hurricane Gonzalo was interesting to watch.

There has also been a whole lot of great sharing going on over on the Mud Puddles Facebook Group! Join in if you are on Facebook.

Have you stumbled across an interesting nature notes around the net this week? Please share in the comments!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dawn & Annie

P.S. We had a really great meeting with our lovely editor over at Roost Books this week and she was excited about the book manuscript! That made us beyond relieved and exceptionally happy! We are on to the next phase of tweaking a few things to make the book better than ever. Thanks so much to all of you for your continued support and cheerleading here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (Dawn & Annie)!

 

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Baldfaced Hornet text

The other day we noticed a baldfaced hornet investigating a conifer nearby. Seeing as it is fall we knew that is was not gathering wood pulp to build a nest. We talked about other things it might be doing, then set out to find some answers. While we have investigated these wasps before (after a family member was stung multiple times), we learned a bit more about these rather large wasps, who happen to be yellowjackets and not hornets at all!

Read on to find out a bit more about baldfaced hornets as well as to download printable sheets of useful photos and information about them. Each Wednesday, check the bottom of the “What’s That?” post to find a PDF containing a fact sheet about the day’s featured item, as well as photographs and other resources ideal for using in a nature journal, research binder, or lap book.

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Baldfaced Hornet 2-1

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Some Interesting Things to Know About Baldfaced Hornets

- Baldfaced hornets are yellow jackets, not hornets. (The European hornet is the only hornet in North America. It was accidentally introduced in the mid-1800′s.)

- They are black with a white face and three white stripes.

- They are common in the southeastern parts of the U.S. but are found though out most of the U.S. and southern Canada (with the exception of the drier midwest).

- These wasps are larger than other wasps averaging about 3/4 inch long (with the queen a bit larger than the workers).

- Queens are hairless while the worker wasps have hairs on their body.

- Fertilized queens overwinter in a sheltered spot and begin nest building on their own in the spring.

- The nests are egg shaped hanging paper nests that are built with wood pulp and saliva.

- Colonies can average 300 – 400 wasp but some grow as large as 700 wasps.

- They feed on insects, spiders, fruit pulp, tree sap and raw meat. Their larvae are feed a diet of chewed up since parts, including other yellow jackets.

- Like other wasps they can sting multiple times but usually only do so to protect themselves or their nest.

- Baldfaced hornets have a very smart fly mimic.

 Resources:

More information can be found using the great fact sheets found here and here.

 

Check back tomorrow for the PDF to go with this post. Thanks for your patience with us!

 

P.S. After our research we concluded that the one we were observing was probably nipping some tree sap from this little spruce. If you know something more please share!

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Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, beaches, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at kidsandnature@gmail.com with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!

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 Laurie ProvincialPark (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Laurie Park is a wonderful getaway that is close to the city but provides plenty of opportunities for quiet and relaxation. With the variety of trails available there is something for just about everyone to enjoy. Our walk in early fall provided a peek at the fall colors starting to change and what was possibly our last dip of toes in the lake before the ice starts to cover everything for the winter.

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Some Things to Know About Laurie Provincial Park

Location: The Laurie Provincial Park is located just outside of Halifax in Grand Lake.

Habitat: Mixed woodland and lake shore.

Favorite Plant and Animal Life: A wide variety of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, fish, and even freshwater snails can be found. There are ferns and an array of wild flowers growing along the trails and throughout the woods.

Special Features: Camping is available mid-June through the beginning of September in a beautiful wooded campground along the lake. The lake is also open to boating and fishing. The park also has a great mix of paved, gravel and rugged trails to serve most levels of walker/hiker. In the off season there is a large parking area to accommodate those who want to use the park year-round.

Best Time of Year to Visit: While the park is accessible year-round late spring through early winter are great times to visit. The fall is especially beautiful with the many deciduous trees changing and of course camping and swimming in the summer are great.

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Nature In Your Neighborhood is a weekly feature that focuses on the nature that we all interact with in our everyday lives. Through the window of these posts you can catch glimpses of nature in action in locations across the country (and sometimes beyond). 

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Roy, who lives in British Columbia, has been a wonderful contributor to the Flickr group for quite some time now and one of the things that we love best, beyond his amazing photos, are his descriptions of the creature or scene at the time the photo was taken. He is truly a naturalist who not only appreciates the beauty to be found in the natural world, but also the intricacies of the relationships creatures have with each other and their environment.

Today we are sharing a recent photo of a pacific tree frog Roy added to the group.

Pacific Tree Frog

Click on the photo to head over to flickr and read Roy’s great description of how the frog has prepared for fall.

Thank you for all of your wonderful and insightful contributions Roy!

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A Note About Contributing to Nature In Your Neighborhood:

Did you find a bug on the sidewalk and look it up in a guide book? Have you seen a mama or papa bird feeding babies? Are you seeing the seasons begin to change in your neighbourhood? Did you see some neat clouds and call out shapes? Did you make a habitat to observe insects? What questions did your kids ask when you found something out on your nature walk?

We would love to hear more about your experience!

If you would like to contribute please either add a photo or two with a short description to the Flickr group, post it to the Facebook Group, or shoot us an email with your photo(s) and a few sentences about your experience at: kidsandnature (at) gmail (dot) com. (Please also include your location (your state or country is fine).

We would also love to highlight photos and descriptions from young naturalist out there. If your child would like to contribute a photo of what they found, and tell us a little about it, please encourage them to do so and we will spotlight them in a “Young Naturalist” post. (Don’t worry so much about photo quality. We would love to share their work!)

We are looking forward to sharing your nature finds and continuing to encourage families to look high and low for nature all around.

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