Ms. Pat's Nature Club

Ms. Pat's Nature Club is a blog for anyone who is a nature nut and loves nature, no matter what age you are. I hope you will let me know what you think and give me feedback. I love to hear from my friends!

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
-Albert Einstein

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
-Frank Lloyd Wright

"Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, It was loaned to you by your children"

-Native American proverb

"Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives."

-Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement and mystery of the world we live in."
-Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nature Club- December 7,8,9

Our lesson last week was "Snow is part of Nature". We began by looking at how some animals adapt to living where it gets cold and snows. I showed them articles in Your Big Backyard magazine: one showed birds finding food in winter, some from bird feeders, and one showed snow monkeys in Japan. We had a nice discussion about how other animals handle snow. The kids learned that there are three ways to deal with it: sleep through it (hibernation), go south where it's warm (migration) or stay and try to find enough food.
Then we had a very lively discussion of what they liked to play in the snow. They drew pictures of themselves playing their favorite games. These ranged from sliding to sledding to building snowmen (snowwomen, etc.) and snow forts to making snow angels and throwing snowballs. Lots of choices out there and lots of snow, too!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nature Club, November 22 and 23

We began Thanksgiving week with a Nature Club theme of Endangered Animals. We had to talk about what those words meant, as only a few kids knew already. We discussed the dinosaurs and the word extinct and then I pointed out that we didn't want our endangered animals to go extinct, so some people try to protect them. We put together a large jigsaw puzzle of endangered animals. After that, I let each preschooler pick from a selection of endangered animal coloring pages. I reminded them to have a great weekend and to "Watch for nature!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nature Club- November 9,10,11

We had lots of fun in Nature Club this week with a project I did last year that was very successful. The kids loved it this year, too! First I read Nature Spies, a book about watching things in nature closely. Then we put on jackets, I gave each kid a paper bag that said "Nature in a Bag" and we went outside.
Everyone was very excited to find a funny-shaped twig, a sparkly rock or a pinecone. Other things we found were red and yellow leaves, dandelion flowers, sand and tiny berries from an evergreen.
We had decided before going out NOT to pick up anything gooey or stinky, and no animals, alive or dead.
It was fun to see how enthusiastic everyone was and I hope they took that home with them and added to their nature collections at home!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Critter Watch

I was surprised to see two Sandhill cranes still in our pasture on Sunday! They were clacking away just as if it were July. Why haven't they gone South yet?
It was fun to see the cranes, seven wild turkeys and our three horses all sharing the same space!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nature Club, October 21,22,23

Since it was Halloween week at school, I dressed up as Mother Nature to play a game. Most of the preschoolers had never heard of Mother Nature and, when asked what they thought I was, came up with a flower girl, a bride, a fairy, a witch and a flower. Our nature game consisted of 12 different natural items that they were supposed to find in the classroom and then mark off the picture of the item. When all items were found, they brought the sheet to Mother Nature, who gave them a piece of Halloween candy.
It was lots of fun and an interesting reminder of what things were natural. I made sure to have some people on the sheet, so the kids would remember that people are part of nature, too!
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nature Club -October 12, 13, 14

We all went BATTY this week in Nature Club! Since it's only a few weeks until Halloween, I borrowed a Bat Kit from the DNR so we could learn about those much-maligned little animals. We learned that bats are not birds, they are mammals. They fly at night using echolocation and eat many, many mosquitos. We looked at bat books, played bat games, played with toy bats and got to see a real bat and a real bat skeleton encased in plastic. Great stuff and the preschoolers loved it!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Critter Watch

I just had to post this- it's an eagle sitting on a fence post in our horse pasture. It's a young one, probably 2 years old. It's hard to tell from the fuzzy picture, but it IS an eagle. We watched it with binoculars for about 20 minutes. It was watching the grass for mice and rabbits. Very cool!

Week of September 27, 2010

This week had absolutely perfect weather for our first week of Nature Club. The kids were as excited as I was to get outside and look for nature. But first we had to talk about what natural and man-made meant, some terms I will use all year.
It was very easy to find a lot of natural items on the ground and happily, not so easy to find man-made items (trash). We had fun taping things to a poster and very quickly picked up the idea of what was too big or heavy to tape down. Also, we decided NOT to tape live insects to the poster because we didn't want to kill them.
P.S. I'm sorry Starla is upside down! I can't figure out how to turn it over or delete it! Will learn by the next post!
Gorgeous days like these make -20 degrees more tolerable!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27

Yesterday was Dragonfly Day! Are dragonflies lucky? I don't know, but they are beautiful and somehow mysterious. It was probably a coincidence that yesterday I mailed a manuscript to a publisher involving dragonflies, and all morning I saw dragonflies everywhere I went! I must have seen 50. So was it a coincidence or do the dragonflies know something....?

Much later...Sept. 30- Yeah, it was just a coincidence! I received an extremely nice and complimentary rejection letter...but still a rejection.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Critter Watch

I love to watch the barn swallows swooping in and out of our barn. They don't look like they are catching insects, they seem to be flying for the sheer joy of it.
The barn swallows make nests that look like little cups of mud and straw, with horsehairs woven in that hang down.
We also have cliff swallows nesting under the eaves of our house. Those nests look like gourds made out of clay. Those swallows like to swoop around the house also. And, of course, they leave droppings all over my deck! Luckily, those wash off pretty easily with water. I don't mind the clean-up too much because the birds are so much fun to watch.
I saw a coyote out in the horse pasture. I don't know if it was a male or female, but it was taking a roll in the grass and just kind of chilling out there. I'm glad they are back.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Critter Watch

Last weekend was fantastic! I watched a hummingbird eating from my shrubs in the front for several minutes before he flew away. The deer are moving all around at all times of the day. We can watch egrets and blue herons in our marsh every day. My bluebirds like to come up to the house and sit on the deck. They make a mess to clean up, but they are so pretty it's worth it. There is also one aggressive male bluebird that fights with his reflection in our windows. Yesterday he was attacking our truck windows! What a fighter!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Critter Watch

Rain, rain and rain! We are finally caught up and it's STILL raining! This is a good thing- the past two summers have been extremely dry. I saw two deer this morning, as well as pheasants and turkeys. The eagle flies by regularly. I think it lives nearby. Have not seen any coyotes this spring, but we hear them sometimes at night. And with the two bears seen in the suburbs recently, I keep thinking I may see one of those someday. Not that I really want to!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Critter Watch

Happy Earth Day! The daffodils are blooming and so are the dandelions. The lilacs have buds; the loons are back and calling in the morning. My hostas are beginning to peek out of the ground. Spring is always lovely, but it's especially sweet when it comes early, as it has this year. The chill in the air this morning (it was only 40) reminds us that we still live in Minnesota and we shouldn't get complaisant.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Critter Watch

Happy Easter! This is Bird Day! I heard a loon when I woke up this morning. I'm so glad they are back and living close to us.
We've been seeing sandhill cranes for a week or two in the pasture. They clack and clatter like crazy.
There was one big tom turkey strutting around with his tail feathers displayed and 12 hens wandering around. He kept herding them where he wanted them to go.
Best of all, we saw two eagles circling each other and going higher and higher into the sky. I got dizzy watching- they were directly overhead. Hope there's a nest nearby!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Critter Watch

There are hoards of crows in the trees across the pasture. Lots of cawing and movement. Are they breeding? We wonder what is going on in Crow World.
We have also been seeing a lot of a young bald eagle and hope he is a resident now. He has a white head, but his tail is not white yet.

Quote of the Day:
"I believe in God, only I spell it nature"
-Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Critter Watch

It's cold and snowy again today. I've seen the following feetprints
in my yard: deer, turkey, mouse and rabbit. They are all out and about- I just don't see them too often this time of year. Overrunning those footprints, of course, are those of Piper, my Sheltie, who thinks the wild footprints are incredibly interesting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Critter Watch

January 3, 2010

We saw 2 bald eagles, 4 deer and a flock of trumpeter swans this morning. What an amazing place to live!