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Inspiration and Information About the Outdoors

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A nature journal is a book or notebook for recording thoughts, feelings, ideas, and observations about the natural world. Creating nature journals is a great way to get your class connecting with the outdoors. Recording observations and thoughts in a book helps you get to know their natural surroundings. Sometimes it’s hard to care about …

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crows in field

Every once in a while, a huge flock of crows comes our way. They fill up the yard or the tree branches, making quite a racket. They are gathering together to sleep, and their big group is called a “roost”. No one is sure why these birds do this, though it may be for protection …

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Writing spiders are large black and yellow spiders often found in backyard gardens. Some legends say that if you speak someone’s name to a writing spider, the spider will write that name when it weaves its web. Other stories say that if you disturb or damage the web, the spider will write your name. Although …

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When I see a small animal that seems to be in distress, my first reaction is to catch it, take it in, and try to help it. But over the years, I’ve learned that’s not always the best thing to do. When I was about 10 years old, I came across three baby squirrels at …

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Canada geese are one of the best-known types of water birds. Their long black necks with black and white markings on their heads make them easy to recognize, even from far away. But although many geese still live in wilderness areas, others have moved into the cities. They take up residence in neighborhoods, parks, and …

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It’s the holiday season, which means lots sparkly lights, colorful packages, and pine cones! If you haven’t noticed them before, you’re sure to see them now – on wreaths, in baskets, as ornaments and centerpieces. But besides adding to the holiday cheer, pine cones have an important job. They protect the pine tree seeds from …

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‘Tis the season for spotting mistletoe! Not only can you find it hanging from the ceiling, you can also find it high up in the trees. It’s not hard to spot; just look for bunches of green among the bare tree branches. But did you ever wonder — what exactly is mistletoe?  Mistletoe is a …

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Depending on where you live, you probably see fewer birds during the winter months. Many species migrate to more temperate areas, some traveling hundreds of miles. But there are those birds that stay behind, even in the coldest weather. Cardinals are some of the easiest to spot with their bright red feathers. Others you might …

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This week, try making your own homemade kite. Then, on the next windy day, head outside to fly it! Here are some great sites for lesson plans on how to construct the kites:  “The Diamond Kite – Lesson Plan.” National Museum of the US Air Force  “Building a Geometric Kite – Group Kite-Building Lesson.”  John …

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Follow these steps to create your own chickadee drawing! Follow these steps to create your own chickadee drawing! To begin, draw a line curving downward for the top of the bird’s head.   Next, place your pencil on the end of your curved line on the left-hand side. Draw another curved line. This line will …

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When the weather begins to warm up, turtles are on the move. They may be searching for food or mates. Many of these turtles are females looking for nesting sites to lay their eggs. What should I do if I see a wild turtle? The best thing you can do when you find a turtle …

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You don’t have to go to a campsite to go camping. This weekend, set up a tent in your own backyard. Putting up a tent together helps encourage listening skills, cooperation, and teamwork. Your kids will enjoy hanging out in the tent during the day and the adventure of sleeping in the tent at night.  …

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Have you ever wondered how animals stay warm when it’s so cold outside? One way mammals stay warm is by developing thick coats for the season. Fur traps air, creating a layer of insulation between the cold air and the animal’s skin. The thicker (and oiler) the fur, the better it insulates. Do you use …

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Get crafty this weekend! Head outside and find some smooth rocks  — any size will do! Then set up a painting area, and get started!  Here’s what you need:    Smooth rocks Acrylic craft paints in a variety of colors Brushes Containers with water for cleaning the brushes Paper towels Disposable plate Newspaper   Here’s …

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If someone were to ask you to name an animal that hibernates, you’d probably say “a bear.” But for many years, some people did not consider them true hibernators. When animals such as chipmunks and ground squirrels hibernate, their body temperatures drop drastically. A bear’s body temperatures does not decrease nearly as much. And, unlike …

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Nature journaling isn’t just for the warmer months! If you don’t already have a nature journal, you can make one with just some printer paper and a few staples. Simply fold it in half and staple it down the side. Then head outside and start drawing!  Not sure what to include in your journal? Click …

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Pumpkin picking, leaf peeping, getting lost in corn mazes — fall is a season full of outdoor activity. But people aren’t the only ones on the go. Squirrels are busy in the fall, bulking up for the winter with extra food and storing nuts, acorns, and seeds for later. Some of these squirrels appear grey …

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This week, talk about condensation! Some good online resources include: “Dew”. National Geographic  “Condensation”. Geography for Kids Kids are probably familiar with finding condensation on a window or drinking glass. But they may not have thought about finding it in nature. Go out early in the morning to find examples of condensation on grass, leaves, …

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I sometimes teach creative writing classes, and one of my students included chipmunks in his descriptive paragraph about the woods. I was a little surprised, though, as his chipmunks were climbing trees. I made a note on his paper that they didn’t really do that, but he assured me that they did. It was time …

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Join the Outdoorosity Backyard Adventure Reading Challenge and explore ten fun things to do in your own backyard this summer!  

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