Saturday, September 3, 2011

Animal Tracks and Nature Walk

Earlier in the week.. after school... when we dropped Daniel off for his weightlifting.. we looked around the Woodard Homestead for animal tracks. With Hurricane Irene blessing us with a lot of rain, we hoped there would be a good chance to find decent tracks to cast a mold by.. A few years ago, when we first met the Woodards, we found a great opossum track and made a mold that was as good as any we found in any book or Internet site!

Daniel had completed an experiment in Apologia's General Science where he made a plaster of paris mold of a seashell, and was determined to make more.. "We have a lot of plaster of paris left, Mom!" So, to keep him from going in the yard and casting a mold of his size 14 boot print, I suggested looking for animal tracks!

We found a few deer tracks, but they were too sandy to use... and several dog prints. So many good ones that we couldn't resist making a mold of Noah's cute paw! (Noah is the Woodard's faithful and sweet dog)

We did come across a row of rabbit tracks. We could follow, by the partial tracks, where the bunny hopped clear across the open muddy area. They weren't the best tracks to mold, but they had some promise... we did manage one little paw! Do you spy the tracks?

This was a spur of the moment rendezvous with nature.. we don't all have hiking boots that fit for this fall yet.. with our summer shoes, in the mud left by Irene.. the children were making mud tracks of their own!

Thursday was our scheduled no-schedule day! Kaylee had stayed the night before and was bursting with excitement to have school with us. So, we planned a nature walk. First to see cat tails, then to explore at Farmer Frank's pond.

This was our first trial at pond dipping. We used borrowed equipment.. we will surely collect our own, we foresee repeating this adventure! I ask the children what they enjoyed the most about our exploring, Millie enjoyed taking photos of the beautiful butterflies.. Alex enjoyed Farmer Frank's big comfy hammock.. Kaylee just enjoyed everything.. Daniel said discovering and identifying two insects was the coolest, and I whole-heartily agree! (Follow the link to our Nature blog for pictures and more description)

This is me (in my yucky get messy nature walk clothes and lack of prettiness!) rescuing the Mayfly nymph from the certain death of Kaylee's continual over-handling.. she squeezed at least four minnows to an untimely exit! She goes fishing often with her Daddy, so she expected us to pull a BIG fish from the pond with our nets. I had to steer her interest from fish to insects. It was quite fun, and entertaining to have Kaylee along for our walk.. but she kept us busy!

The children had a good opportunity to add to their nature journals.. we are going to attempt adding color to our illustrations here at home with the aid of the beautiful butterfly pictures we captured.  We will post a series of journal entries on the PCA Nature Journal.

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