Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Learning on a Hike

We haven't done a lot of formal nature studies over the years, but I'm always amazed at the things we learn just by being observant. Recently my family went on an afternoon hike while we were out camping. We didn't take along nature journals to make notes and drawings, but I did take the camera. I snapped pictures of the things we wondered about.I thought the yellow violets were so sweet. Later I looked them up in a wildflower book and discovered that there actually 5 different kinds of yellow violets in the western United States, and I determined that this particular kind is the Stream Violet.
My daughter caught a little frog along a stream. Or is it a toad? Yeah, I think it's a toad. We learned about the difference between frogs and toads earlier this year, but we should probably look it up again just to refresh our memories.
What kind of bird dropped this feather? I have no idea! Maybe we need a bird book, too. The feather almost looks polka-dotted.
Then we picked up this pretty piece of quartz. I recognized it... but my daughter is sure we need a rock book, too!
What kind of animal left this behind? Elk? Moose? Don't tell me we need a poop book! Oh, wait. We already have one! Really, we do! I'll tell you about it some other time. (I just can't find it right now, which is why I'm not sure whether it's elk or moose.)
Look close! Can you see the gold flakes in the stream? We wondered if it was real gold. Perhaps we ought to research that, too!

Isn't learning fun?


  1. Yes, learning is fun!

    We love to take nature hikes. I am seriously thinking about starting a nature club for our homeschool group this year. I just haven't worked out all the details yet. So we'll see!

  2. We have a scat book ourselves.

    I guess with a houseful of boys and a mom who loves mud puddles and other tom-boy stuff it is inevitable. I think the best lessons I learned as a child were the lessons I learned from nature.

  3. well, as Jeff Corwin would say-"that is some nice looking scat"


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