In uncertain times, there are things we can still do in nature. If folks are able to take a walk on their own or with healthy family members, please observe, listen & engage with the outside world.
Our phones provide lots of information and pleasure but so does a walk in the woods, a visit to a garden and a walk to an open meadow. The farm teachers work hard to bring students of all ages to our learning areas. We are unable to host groups now, but in the meanwhile, think of the things you can do:
Rake left over winter leaves into a pile
Make a compost pile in the backyard with leaves and vegetable food scraps.
Dig your hands in the soil to investigate worms and beneficial insects.
Listen in the evening for woodcocks and spring sounds.
Look for the moon in the morning and the evening.
See what plants and flowers are emerging from the soil.
Sketch a design for a garden on a piece of paper imagining what food you would like to grow.
Gather the following supplies:
magnifying glass, waxed paper, rubber band, spoon, clear glass jar, very ripe banana, brown sugar.
Our Education Director Jon Belber recommends the following books to accompany nature-based education:
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
How Groundhogs Garden Grew by Lynn Cherry
The poetry of Mary Oliver
These works can help you to think, hope, escape, relax and imagine.
Birds can provide hours of entertainment for all ages. To lure them to your backyard and maybe nourish some hungry migrators, here's an easy homemade bird feeder.
Gather the following supplies:
pinecones, peanut or soy nut butter, twine or string, bird seed or bread crumbs
1. Tie 2 feet of twine or string around the pinecone, securing it well.
2. Using a knife, spread the pinecone with peanut or soy nut butter to coat it.
3. Pour bird seed or bread crumbs onto a flat plate. Roll the pinecone in the seeds or crumbs.
4. Hang your bird feeder!
Note: to keep birds safe, it is recommended that feeders be hung at least 30' from a window OR attached to the window itself, for instance with suction cups. This keeps birds safer from striking windows.
Cornell's Ornithology Lab has incredible live streaming bird cams that let kids observe nature in real time.
Most kids love the owls, but there are also petrels in Bermuda, ospreys in Montana, red-tailed hawks in New York State, and fruit feeders in Panama.
Place 4 natural objects in 4 different bags, for example a pebble, a pinecone, a stick, and a leaf.
Have kids close their eyes while they feel each item, giving names to what they feel: scratchy, crunchy, rough, pointy, etc.
Next, go for a nature walk or hike and try to find items of a matching texture.
Discriminating between the textures can promote learning by supporting fine motor skills, and assigning appropriate descriptors can enhance vocabulary.
No earth worms will be harmed in this scientific endeavor!
Dissect a gummy 'worm' in order to compare it with a real-live earthworm from your garden or your walk. Download the dissection form at the link below.
Through the activities within this monarch butterfly toolkit, students will learn how everyday food choices can impact this incredible species, their habitat, and their legendary migration.
Learn about ocean conservation with the World Wildlife Fund tools for kids.
Learn more about these fascinating creatures, including the threats they face and what we all can do to help.