Sunday, August 05, 2007

5th Edition of Learning in the Great Outdoors

The Summer Morning Snail
by N.M. Bodecker in Water Pennies

The summer morning snail
she leaves a shiny trail.
At sunrise in the chill, wet grass I
    find her;
so I shall always know
wherever she may go,
she leaves that guiding sliver thread
    behind her.

For long before it's day
she's up and on her way,
the moon still in the pale dawn sky
    above her;
if I could be a snail,
I'd hurry on her trail,
to tell her just how very much I
    love her.
Welcome to the August edition (5th!) of Learning in the Great Outdoors. As we brave our way through the last hot days of summer, there are many folks who choose to stay indoors to beat the heat. Not me! This is when I look forward to early mornings in the shade, sipping tea and watching the birds in the yard. These are the days when hot walks on the beach or in the shade of the forest can open your eyes once again to the wonder of the natural world. This month, let's look at the all ways we can explore the great outdoors.

Get Your Sunscreen on and Head Outside
Let's begin with picking some ripe, delicious blueberries. This post is by one of my favorite bloggers, cloudscome, who writes awesome haiku poems accompanied by some amazing nature photos at her blog, a wrung sponge.

When outdoors, always keep your eyes open, as you never know what you might see. Oh, look over there! It's that darn snake! Over at Po Moyemu, Sylvia not only writes about the snake that can't seem to stay away from the hen house, but also shares this Odd Egg Update.

Would you like to explore colors in your garden? Barb at The Heart of Harmony shares this nature activity from Another great idea from Barb is on how to make a nature journal. This one has great pictures that show the process step-by-step.

I love my nature notebook, as it often helps me remember where I've been and what I've seen. Over at Backyard Birding, Dana shares some thoughts on notebooks and birds.

Speaking of birds, I'm crazy about them. I recently discovered the blog of a Bird Study Ecology Group. Okay, I know these folks are in Singapore, but the pictures are terrific and I'm learning quite a lot about bird behavior. Check it out and see what you think.

With fall fast approaching, now is a good time to think about making your yard a bit more nature-friendly. Tiffany at Natural Family Living shares a slide show that highlights their backyard wildlife habitat.

Well, I thought mountain climbing in Tibet was adventurous, but it seems that Stephanie over at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood has me beat! Read all about the Infamous Alaskan Backpacking Trip. (If you want to read about that mountain in Tibet, follow this link.)

For a trip closer to home, the folks at Free Range Academy share their pictures of a recent trip to the Lynde Shores Conservation Area.

Over at the Yellow House Homeschool, nature walks are a way of life. Check out the prairie walk, the tree study, and plant things. If you want to learn to take better nature photos, be sure to read the entry entitled Scale Matters.

Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight often shares shares pictures and writes about the flora and fauna that surround her family. I love this entry entitled Little Nature Stories: Birds, Bugs and Berries.

I'm always on the lookout for a new blog (at least new to me) that celebrates nature. Join me in visiting one of my new faves, Beyond the Fields We Know. The photos of this little corner of Ontario are amazing. While you're visiting, be sure to reflect on the passing of July with the entry entitled The Blessing Moon of July.

Let's Head Back in to Find Some Good Books
Becky at Becky's Book Reviews shares Shape Me a Rhyme, a poetry book written by Jane Yolen and illustrated with photographs by her son, Jason Stemple.

Would you like to learn about worms? Julie at Pines Above Snow shares some great reads for those with more than a passing fancy. If you want to follow up these books with a great online resource, I'm partial to the UIUC site The Adventures of Herman the Worm.

Over at True Colors, Dawnelle introduces us to the book Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. Using this same title, Lindafay at Higher Up and Further In writes about using this book to guide their study of butterflies.

Funding and a Bit O' Politics
Sometimes finding money for outdoor education can be a problem. Terrell from Alone on a Limb and the inventor of this here blog carnival shares a fantastic proposal for a nature study project.

Given all the federal mandates mucking up public education these days, I'm not one for adding even more requirements, but this one has me nodding my head in agreement. If you haven't read about the proposed addendum to NCLB entitled No Child Left Inside, please do.

Just for Fun
On July 7th, the New 7 Wonders Foundation announced the winners of a global vote on the New 7 Wonders of the World. You can read about it here. The Foundation has now set off on a campaign to nominate the sites for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Where in this big beautiful world have you been that is a worthy nominee? Think about it and then head on over and nominate your favorite spot.

That's it for this edition. Thanks so much for visiting. I leave you with and excerpt from Ordinary Things: Poems From a Walk in Early Spring by Ralph Fletcher, for it's also time for me to leave my desk behind. Enjoy!
Time to leave my desk
and leave my house,
pulling the door behind.

I walk the way I write
starting out all creaky,
sort of stumbling along,
looking for a rhythm.

Each footstep is like a word
as it meets the blank page
followed by a pause
before the next one:
step, step, word . . .


  1. You highlighted some interesting blogposts here. I enjoyed reading them.

  2. Fabulous carnival here! I am tickled to be linked in your blog two days in a row. I enjoyed surfing all these links and found some great new -to-me blogs.

  3. Wonderful job. Thank you so much for putting this together!

  4. That was really wonderful. I will save my getting outside for a day that isn't hitting the triple digits, but I do love my time in nature. Even suburban nature.

  5. Great issue of the Great Outdoors, Tricia. Thank you. I hope you will find time to host again often.

  6. Tricia, neat carnival here. One link lead to another cool link to another. Love it!

  7. Great carnival! Thanks for all your hard work to put it together. I read every link.

    Harmony Art Mom