Saturday, June 18, 2011

Make a Back Yard Field Guide

One of the neat things about science is that you can walk out your back door and learn something new. One fall my kids dug through the compost bin looking for isopods (roly-polies, plant lice) for some studies they wanted to conduct. In the process they uncovered a lot of interesting stuff: worms, centipedes, sprouting seeds.... enough to make cataloging the compost pile that day's study.

Another week we decided to take a closer look at the insects living in the milkweed patch, and later we examined the insects hanging around goldenrod.

In the process we collected notes and sketches of our observations in a sun-faded blue notebook that resided on the windowsill where we watched birds. Over the years our "Window Ledger" grew into a field guide.

I wish I'd taken the next step: snap photos of the things we observed (and the kids holding frogs, kneeling in the garden to watch spiders), print the pages, punch holes and stick into a binder. You can get some good ideas about creating your own field guide from "Flora, Fauna and Family Togetherness"in this month's National Wildlife magazine.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! It would also be neat to be able to look at how your backyard changes over time and through the seasons.