Friday, April 30, 2010

More Great Outdoor Challenge

More of our adventures in nature:

April 26:

April 27:

April 28:

April 29:

April 30:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge

April is Children & Nature Awareness Month, and some great homeschooling bloggers are doing the Great Outdoor Challenge.

I thought it was probably too late to participate, but apparently, it's not, so I've put together a little collage of our outdoor fun so far this month. There were a couple trips to our local park and playground that didn't get photographed. So I think we got outside something like 18 out of 24 days... Sometimes we went no farther than our own yard, where we did our homeschooling outdoors and enjoyed the beautiful spring days, but even here, we have bird feeders galore and you can't help but appreciate the natural world around us. So, we haven't managed a perfect everyday outside total, but I'm pretty happy with how we've done so far.

Village Earth Day Fest, Flint Knapping, and Hawks!

Today was our village's Earth Day celebration, at a village park on the Hudson River. There were free t-shirts and trees, live music, a shore cleanup, and booths for nature and environmental organizations. And there were trees to climb, rocks to balance on, an eel to touch and help return to the river, and lots of grass to roll in.

We found out the hard way that eels can secrete a slimey substance to help them escape predators-- that stuff took a lot of washing to get off our hands! The eel was about 22 inches long, and I'm sure he's happy to be back in the Hudson.

I love being by the river. Isn't this cloud covered picnic table the perfect place to daydream?

Later in the afternoon, we headed to yet another amazing park on the Hudson, for a program at our local Nature Center on flint knapping.

After flint knapping, the kids went on a hike. Mikro especially enjoyed climbing down near the water...

A pair of redtailed hawks stole the show, hunting and perching nearby to finish their meals. The female flew down and struck a rat literally less than ten feet in front of me. I nearly jumped out of my skin! They seemed fairly unconcerned by humans, except for occasionally giving us a seemingly "My dinner, not yours!" glare as they chowed down...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Fair Outdoors at NYC's Grand Central Terminal

Mikro and I went to Earth Fair today and enjoyed:

Bio Bus: a veggie oil fueled science lab on wheels, where we learned about Daphnia (water fleas), tiny crustaceans with a very complex anatomy, including a heart and digestive tract, which can be observed moving under the microscope.

Making semaphore flags to spell out "Earth", and touching and learning about a hermit crab, an oyster drill snail, and clams and mussels from the educators from South Street Seaport Museum.

Chatting with artist Michael Albert, and doing some coloring, which we traded for a signed poster:

Checking out a preview of the history Channel's new America: The Story of Us series, watching a cool movie about endangered species and habitat destruction called What Is Missing?, and participating in the Walking With Dinosaurs Roar project:

Interacting with Baby T Rex, one of the dinosaurs from the Walking With Dinosaurs show:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

We spent a quiet day yardschooling, and Mikro did a bunch of Earth Day related printables, like mazes, word searhes, and a crossword (a very easy one), and some math problems about planting trees and flowers. We read some animal related books, listened to the Kids Saving the Earth promise song, and painted the planet.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nearby Nature

Birds at the park:

Turtle at the train station (there is a wetlands area right next to the parking lot).

While we were there, another similarly sized turtle surfaced. This guy went under, swam out to her, and tried (unsuccessfully) to mate with her. Mikro was fascinated, and I am sure he'll be going on about it to anyone who will listen.

"Wow, mama, I've never seen turtles mate before! Can we stay and see if they do it again?"

My little naturalist is a turtle voyeur...