Nature Around the Net

March 28, 2015

Spring Bud-1

We found some super great links to share today.

- The Wilder Child Book Club! Awesome!

- Check out the night sky tonight.

- The Sneaky Reason Why Plants Bear Fleshy Fruit!

- Our Favorite Ways to Play Outdoors in the Spring!

- Moving Forward to a Nature-Rich Civilization.

There were also some great links shared this week in the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook Group. Pop over to join if you are on FB.

Have you found any great nature related posts or articles to share? Please do so in the comments. We would love to see what you are reading!

 

 

 

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Nature In Your Neighborhood is a 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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Katrina, from the Islands of the West Coast, contributed this beautiful shot to the flickr group. It is so nice to see blossoms.

Her Blossom.

Her Blossom

Thank you for sharing, Katrina!

Have you been seeing blossoms in your area? We would love to see them!

A Note About Contributing to Nature In Your Neighborhood:

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 Around the Net

March 21, 2015

Icicles-1

 

We have some fun and inspirational links to share today. Enjoy!

 

- The video at the bottom of this post shares a copy of the first book published by Anna Atkins, photographic pioneer using cyanotypes, or what we commonly call solar paper.

- Here is a whole Pinterest board of cyanotype inspiration! And we did a feather study using solar paper. The possibilities are amazing.

- Did you ever want to know Why Icicles Look the Way They Do?

- Earth and Sky has a great piece about sun and moon halos. (You can see one we spotted this week in my IG feed.)

- Have you seen a cloudbow?

 

Have you found some interesting nature related articles or posts this week?

We would love to see what you are reading about. You can share here in the comments or over on our Facebook group.

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hoar frost text

There is something magical about hoarfrost. Yes, it is just frost.  But the way that it resembles ferns, feathers, leaves, or any number of other natural objects, makes it seem otherworldly. It is impossible not to be instantly drawn to its fantastically delicate branches, which instantaneously crumble at the touch of curious little fingers, making them seem almost as if they vanish by magic.

Read on to find out a bit more about hoarfrost 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.

Hoar Frost 30-1 Hoar frost 31-1Frost feather 20-1 Hoar forst 33-1

Some things to know about hoarfrost:

- Hoarfrost is a feathery, leafy type of frost that forms on objects exposed to open air.

- Like other types of frost, hoarfrost is made up of ice crystals.

- It is formed when the frost point in the air is reached and water vapor condenses into ice.

- Cold temps are not enough to form hoarfrost; the air must also be sufficiently saturated with water vapor.

- Hoarfrost often occurs in areas when there is open water, which provides ample water vapor for the frost to form.

Resources

SnowCrystals.com has a great Guide to Frost (including a way to grow your own hoarfrost!)

 

Click here to download the hoarfrost nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

 

Have you seen any hoarfrost this winter?

We would love to see your photos! You can tag them with #mudtometeors on Instagram or share on the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group.

 

 

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Nature Around the Net

March 14, 2015

Peggys Cove ice-2

We had not intending to take the last week off of posting here but life sometimes runs away from us. We did have a few moments here and there to read some things we thought you might like.

- While some of you are swinging into spring, a few of us still need these tips and recipe.

- Looking to buy a new daypack for your spring hikes? Find some great tips here.

- Outdoor play ideas and tips for rainy days. Spring rains are coming!

- Skiing on Nantucket Beach slush!

- Sprout seeds with DIY seed paper.

- Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Explained (Infographic)

A few from our archives:

- This is a great time of year to force buds to bloom indoors; our twig study post gives lots of ideas for extending the activity.

- If you have not picked a tree to study or need a reminder to check in with your tree, take a peek at this post.

Happy Weekend!

Dawn & Annie

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Nature Around the Net

March 7, 2015

Snow Stream-1

We found some great links to share with you this week!

- Blend art, poetry and science while learning about daffodils.

- The girl who gets gifts from birds. (Thanks for sharing on the FB group, Lucia.)

- Chapter books that connect children and nature. (Do you have any to add to the list?)

- For snow crystal hunters.

- Using snow as his canvas, snowshoe artist Simon Beck creates some amazing art.

Did you come across an interesting nature related post or article this week? Please share in the comments and over on our Facebook Group. Thanks!

Happy Weekend!

Dawn & Annie

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Red Squirrel Text

Furry, cute, and with a penchant for what humans generally define as mischief, the American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a common visitor to backyards and local parks, making it a great animal for young naturalists to spend time observing. Squirrels move quickly, often giving the appearance of being both purposeful and a bit self-important; qualities that children tend to find irresistible and charming as they watch.

Read on to find out a bit more about American red squirrels 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.

Red Squirrel 1-1 Red Squirrel 2-1 Red Squirrel 3-1 Red Squirrel 4-1

Some Things to Know About the American Red Squirrel

- Red squirrels are part of a group of squirrels commonly known as “pine squirrels.” Their diet consists primarily of seeds from conifer trees.

- Red squirrels can be distinguished from other squirrels by their smaller size and reddish color, as well as by their white belly fur.

- Red squirrels can swim!

- Although conifer seeds comprise the majority of a red squirrel’s diet, these squirrels are also known to eat leaves, flowers, and berries.

- These squirrels also eat mushrooms, and are known to pick mushrooms and dry them in the sun so that they can save them to eat later.

- Twice a year red squirrels lose and regrow the fur on their bodies. Their tail fur is replaced only once a year.

- In situations where a mother red squirrel has done particularly well for herself, she may gift one of her food storage locations (and its stores) to her offspring when they are ready to be independent.

Click here to download the American red squirrel nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

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Nature From Annie

I am just popping in to say hello to those of you visiting from Instagram and to let the rest of you know about a super fun Nature Exchange happening over on IG.

If you are looking for our post about the nature exchange we hosted in the past you can find that here (scroll down for some info about how to put together your box) and some great information about sending and sharing specimens safely can be found here.

For those of you who would like to jump onboard this fun exchange you can check out Alison’s IG feed for more info. (You have to sign up by March 5th so hop on over there real quick!)

My kiddos and I are joining in, of course!

I hope you do too!

~ Dawn

Edited to add: We are not hosting this exchange. Alison is hosting it with another friend. I just wanted to promote it here because so many of you enjoyed our last nature exchange and Alison sent folks here to check out our nature exchange post. Contact Alison at naturepalexchange (at) gmail (dot) com for more information. 

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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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Today we welcome Shelli, who shared an amazing winter experience with her boys when an ice storm came through and coated their Georgia neighborhood in ice.

From Shelli:

We woke up the morning of February 16th to a different kind of winter wonderland. None of us had ever seen anything like it. During the night it had rained, and then the temperature went below freezing.  This caused the water to freeze and encapsulate every tree limb, needle and leaf. In the breeze, the ice clinked together like wind chimes. My boys were fascinated with the sight, and I was too!
The next morning I drove into town when much of the ice was still on the trees, and it looked as if the trees were made of crystals. The morning light made them twinkle and shine so brightly I could barely see!

 

ice storm in Georgia-1-3ice storm in Georgia-1-4ice storm in Georgia-1-2ice storm in Georgia-1-5ice storm in Georgia-1ice storm in Georgia-2ice storm in Georgia-3ice storm in Georgia-4ice storm in Georgia-5

 

Thank you for sharing these stunning images, Shelli.

 

You can find more of Shelli’s photography here and read a bit more about her homeschooling adventures on her blog, Mama of Letters. Shell is also an editor over at Home/School/Life magazine. If you are interested you can check out the magazine here and sign up for their awesome free newsletter.

 

If you would like to learn more about ice storms you can take a peek at our “What’s That?” Wednesday: Freezing Rain (ice storms) post.

 

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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Crow text

Easily one of the most recognizable birds, crows have a rich history in superstition and folklore alike. While they are usually cast as bad omens or villainous characters (as is evident by the name of their flock: a murder) they are really quite familial and intelligent. The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is widely distributed across the United States, and is a bird easily recognized by even the youngest of aspiring birders.

Read on to find out a bit more about American crows 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.

Crow 4-1Crow 9-1

Crow 10-1

Crow 5-1

Some Things to Know About American Crows

- American Crows are entirely black in color; even their beaks are black.

- Crows often live together in family groups, with young crows delaying breeding themselves for up to four years while they help care for younger siblings.

- Researchers have discovered that crows are actually capable of using tools, such as sticks, particularly when they are trying to access food that they otherwise can’t reach.

- Crows are some of the most skilled spies in the bird world; they are known to follow other birds back to their nests, which they raid for food.

- Crows are very open-minded eaters. They are known to eat everything from fruit and insects to carrion, dog food, and garbage.

- American Crows are known to work together in large groups, sometimes living in groups comprised of hundreds of thousands of birds.

- American Crows engage in a behavior called “mobbing” where they join together to run off potential predators.

- American Crow eggs are between an inch and a half and two inches long, and are greenish, with patches of grey or brown at one end.

Resources

A Murder of Crows is a wonderful look at the world of crows (full documentary online).

Click here to download the American Crow nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

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