Tag Archives: nature

Connecting With Nature

At the recent CoSN conference, I attended a spotlight session presented by Dr. Milton Chen that focused on outdoor, experiential learning opportunities, mostly through the national parks. Sadly, Dr. Chen had, along with many others, resigned from the National Park Service education advisory board after being ignored in their efforts to engage with the new administration.

But, he remained passionate about the possibilities of outdoor education and describe Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program. The farm-to-table approach to gardening means that kids learn to both grow AND cook their own food.

I firmly believe that raising even a small amount of your own food is good for the soul: some leaf lettuce, herbs, spring onions, and radishes are all easy crops to grow in a pot in a sunny warm place. There is a simple joy to adding a bit of fresh rosemary or chives to your potatoes or salting and crunching into a freshly pulled radish (better yet, dip it in melted butter).

But, connecting to nature can be as simple as keeping a bird feeder. While we have lots of birds who stick around all year here in south central Virginia, we also have migrants.

In Flight

My favorites are the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. April 1 is the traditional day for me to put up my first hummingbird feeder. We had our first siting today, April 4. It was a male–it usually is–and I added our siting to the hummingbird database. It took just a moment or two to submit and I was able to see my entry immediately and see that we were very much on the northern edge of reporting.

These kinds of migration tracking projects have been around for almost as long as the Internet. While they are certainly wonderful ways to have students experience collaboration and scientific discovery, they are also moments for students to connect with the natural world, to stop for a moment and wonder at the joy that is a hummingbird.

Consumed 10/15/2013

  • An intriguing story of a complex man.

    tags: spy nature consumed

    • Brown’s reassessment could prove crucial. Since Taylor’s time, taxonomy has become more than just a naming exercise. Designating a group of organisms as a new species, or lumping it in with an old one, can affect the animals’ legal protection and influence the allocation of scarce conservation resources.
    • Designating a group of organisms as a new species, or lumping it in with an old one, can affect the animals’ legal protection and influence the allocation of scarce conservation resources.
      • Just like humans…it matters what we call you.
    • Taylor had other demons. He had voiced support for eugenics programmes and reportedly refused to take on Jewish students. Brown makes no apologies for the man, but Taylor’s reputation — for good or ill — is intertwined with the history of the Kansas museum. “In the end, we consider him our own,” says Brown.
  • In the Google Earth world, there is still a place for globes. Not to mention all the math and science involved…what a potentially great project for kids!

    tags: design consumed

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Addendum: A 20th Century Voice

I’m reading Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, a collection of short pieces describing life around The Shack, the country cottage he and his family inhabited for many years. The descriptions follows the months of the year and I’m reading one each day, treating myself to Leopold’s vivid insights into the flora, fauna, and humanity of the place. Leopold’s prose should be part of every writing class as he captures the whole experience. Here, March geese, who seem to know there aren’t hunters in the spring, “wind the oxbows of the river, cutting low over the now gunless points and islands, and gabbling to each sandbar as to a long-lost friend. They weave low over the marshes and meadows, greeting each newly melted puddle and pool. Finally, after a few pro-forma circlings of our marsh, they set wing and glide silently to the pond, black landing-gear lowered and rumps white against the far hill. Once touching water, our newly arrived guests set up a honking and splashing that shakes the last thought of winter out of the brittle cattails.”

After I finished my blog post about gardening as a 21st century skill, I picked up Leopold to read the entry for March. The whole piece is about the arrival of the geese in Wisconsin in early Spring. His comment about being involved in the natural world seemed a perfect punctuation to my own thoughts on this Spring morning.

A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for the geese. I once knew an educated lady, banded by Phi Beta Kappa, who told me that she had never heard or seen the geese that twice a year proclaim the revolving seasons to her well-insulated roof. Is education possibly a process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth? The goose who trades his is soon a pile of feathers.