By Trudyann Buckley
As the air gets warmer, we Interns are busy setting up a storybook adventure that you can come visit in April and May! A storybook walk is a trail that has pages of a book posted along the way, so you can read while you walk! The story on our walk is On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. It’s about a girl who creates a habitat in her front yard! (A habitat is a home for animals.) You can learn more about this event at the end of this blog post.
We love On Meadowview Street, and we’re pretty sure you will too. It gave us some great ideas for celebrating nature this Spring, and we wanted to share them! You can try them at home, or you can try some of them at your local park or Nature Center:
1. Draw a flower!
Flowers are beautiful, aren’t they? Pack a bag with a notebook, a pencil and eraser, and something to color with like crayons or colored pencils. Then, go outside! When you find a pretty wildflower, draw your own version of it! You can practice the challenge of drawing it exactly as it looks, or you can change how it looks! Make it your favorite color, or give it different shaped petals! There’s always room for imagination. You know, if you go back to that flower a week or two later, it might look completely different. You could even draw it again. Try it out!
Annalie is a great artist! She practices drawing flowers a lot. See if you can guess what flower she drew. I’ll give you a big hint: its picture is in this blog post!
2. Make a birdfeeder!
You can thread some cheerios and dried cranberries on a string and hang it on a tree or a nearby fence. Then, visit it from time to time! If you are very quiet with your footsteps, you may see a bird eating your snack! If not, you might still see that the snack you’ve left out has been nibbled! I’m sure you’ll feed some happy birds! Just remember, you need thread and a sewing needle for this project, so make sure you have an adult’s help or permission.
Or if you want to make another kind of birdfeeder, ask an adult to help you find some ideas on the web. There are pinecone birdfeeders, orange-half birdfeeders, and lots more!
3. Catch an insect!
There are all sorts of cool insects hiding in the grass and the leaves. Ask an adult to poke small holes in an old, cleaned-out peanut butter jar. Then, take the jar outside and go on an insect expedition! You might catch a beetle, grasshopper, fly, caterpillar, or even a praying mantis. You can look at the insect’s behavior, and compare it to the other insects you’ve caught. You can even draw a picture of it. But don’t forget: when you’re done with the insect, let it go so it can continue living its happy life.
4. Make a birdbath!
Wildlife needs water to survive! Try putting water and maybe some pebbles in an old, shallow bowl and leaving it outside so that animals in your neighborhood have a source of fresh water. If you put it on the ground in a hidden spot, you might be surprised by a toad or a snail! Just remember to change the water every few days to avoid mosquitos.
3. Take care of a native flower!
Did you know that baby birds can’t survive without a lot of insects to eat? Did you know that insects can’t eat plants from other countries? So, plants from other countries don’t make very good bird habitat because they don’t provide food for baby birds. However, plants from around here make great habitat for birds! Plants from around here are called native plants. They are useful to wildlife and beautiful to you and me. If you see a wild flower, or a flower at the store that you want to take care of, try asking an adult you know if it’s a native plant! If they don’t know, you can figure it out together! You can take care of a native flower by planting it in a spot where it will grow happily. If you find one in your yard or garden, try fencing it from lawn mowers and deer so that it can spread and make new flowers.
The flower below is a native flower. It’s called a Spring Beauty! Does it look familiar?
6. Spend time outside!
Maybe you like playing ball games. Maybe you like puddle jumping. Perhaps you want to watch clouds, or stargaze! Do you like to make sculptures or little towns out of rocks and sticks? Is your favorite thing quietly searching for animals in trees and under rocks and logs? Do you want to go to the playground, or have a picnic? If you don’t know what you like to do yet, try something new! The important thing is: you’re having fun in the fresh, Spring air!
7. Go for a walk!
You can go for a walk outside anywhere you want! It’s a great way to get active, get healthy, and enjoy the outdoors.
Between April 1st and May 31st, you’re invited to Ashland Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center and Abbot’s Mill Nature Center to go on a storybook walk! Pages of the book On Meadowview Street will be posted along one of our trails so you can read while you walk. You don’t have to register this time, just come visit a nature center any day you’d like!
This event is part of Longwood Gardens’ Community Read. You can learn about other Community Read events HERE.
If you are interested in making your own backyard habitat for animals to live, ask a parent to help you visit THIS website to learn how in 5 steps. You can even certify it if you would like to.
If your family wants to raise a few native plant that they don’t have yet, they can visit THIS website to learn about the upcoming Native Plant Sale.