This past week we put our official study of land animals (at some point I need to make an actual land animals landing page and not just default to zoo animals) on hold as we took to a local hiking trail (one of the few I know of here) and wandered through the forest for our science lesson for the week.
Hey, this is Future Ticia 2023 here. I’m updating this with better edited pictures, which mainly means adding my current logo, and clarifying a few details. I don’t know that I’ll pop in much as you read this post.
(there are maybe affiliate links in here, but just in case I do add one)
Getting the most out of our nature walk
As we walked we put some recent classes we’d taken and things we learned to the test.
Back in October the boys went to a class given by a nearby state park that taught them how to identify animal droppings and look for signs of animals. They were able to figure out this is from a meat eater. Meat eaters (Future Ticia 2023 wonders why I didn’t say carnivores?) have line-shaped poops, and vegetarians have ball-shaped poops. This particular one was probably sick because it’s rather runny. And yes, I was immensely grossed out.
We checked out the man-made lake and decided this was non-potable water here. Princess learned how to tell this at her campout with American Heritage Girls (if you can I highly recommend joining them).
We found signs of drought in the trees. One of those is the extensive root system being visible above ground, though as I do more research this is somewhat in debate. It could also be a result of erosion……
We discussed how this tree came down. Was it cut down or did it fall on its own? After talking for a while we decided it had been cut down and that no animal could have done that, so it must have been a chainsaw or something similar. Than we discussed if it was cut down because it was healthy or not. The jury is still out on that with it leaning towards the tree being sick.
We discussed why the path was cracked like this. It’s another sign of drought. The ground is so dry it is clumping together and cracking.
We found a small hole dug out under this rock. We discussed what kind of animal would live under the rock. We never decided on a satisfactory answer. With our most recent animal study being a marsupial, the kids are sure everything is a possum now.
Making these tips to get the most our of your nature study more general
Hi, future Ticia 2023, I don’t think you can take exactly that to get the most out of your nature study, but I let you see what we did as we walked and the specific things we noticed, now let’s turn that into specific tips:
- As much as possible put your phone away. Don’t be listening to things on your earbuds, or absently scroll, be present. This is probably rather obvious, but it’s true.
- Talk the entire time to each other about what you see and ask questions. That tree that was cut down? It would have been really easy to just say “Look at the tree,” and keep walking. Instead, it turned into a short discussion on what happened and why it might have happened.
- Bring in your prior knowledge. The boys’ nature class let them share what they knew and point out the animal scat. They even made a point to use that word. I brought in my recently learned knowledge of drought’s effects on land (exposed roots, clumping dirt)
- Don’t be afraid not to know. We still don’t know why that hole was dug under the rock. It could have been water digging it out (highly unlikely), or another hiker, or an animal. The point is we don’t know.
What do you do to get the most out of nature walks?
And some more fun for you to try
Back when I first posted this I was running a science linkie and would link to people who had linked up throughout the week. Sadly, most of those blogs aren’t still around or have gone private now.