Monday, June 04, 2007

Learning in the Great Outdoors: Third Edition

Summer Vacation in the Great Outdoors
the third edition of
Learning in the Great Outdoors,
the carnival of environmental education

It has been happy times for your host here at the Limb. The grant application for an Outdoor Education project at the elementary school where I teach has been funded in full. Watch Terrell scurry around during his eight weeks of summer vacation as he tries to prepare to implement the year-long project beginning on August first. Next week I'll study nature from a beach blanket at Saint George Island, Florida. The following week I'll attend a conference on using the Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) for learning in Atlanta. I hope to get a few LIGO ideas there.

I have received several interesting submissions for this edition, but not enough. Please consider submitting any interesting post that relates to the Great Outdoors, especially if it involves students high school age and younger. Until our carnival becomes a little more widely circulated and supported by a larger number of submissions, I'll continue to snoop about the blogoshere for interesting or helpful links.

Let's spend our first day off in the garden.

Classroom Gardens

Barb presents The Heart of Harmony - A Children's Garden posted at The Heart of Harmony, saying, "Here are some ideas for getting a children's garden going using the square foot gardening method. I also try to incorporate our nature journals and art into our garden unit."

Stephanie presents Common Milkweed - Food for Monarchs and for Me! posted at Stop the Ride! I wonder if Stephanie caught your host in his Milkweed Mishap?

And now take a vacation Sunday afternoon to walk along one of the many trails through the Great Outdoors.

Nature Trails

Take a meditative stroll through the trees at Arboreality where the 12th Festival of the Trees is posted.
When we blog about trees in our respective regions, we share a sort of ongoing, global meditation on the green and growing world.
-from Arboreality

A shagbark hickory at Lavendar Mountain, Armuchee GA.

Barb presents The Heart of Harmony - What to pack for a nature walk posted at The Heart of Harmony, saying, "Here are my suggestions for what to take on a nature walk."

Don't neglect the old noggin during vacation. Kids and even grownups can benefit from a little summer school in the Great Outdoors.

Outdoor Classrooms

The family at School@Home have organized a Young Nature Explorers Club.

We had our second meeting of our Young Nature Explorers Club and it was great! We meet at a nearby lake and walked the trail around it at a leisurely pace with the kids stopping to explore whatever interested them at the time.
-from School@Home
Another homeshooling family, By Sun and Candlelight, talks about organizing a Nature Detective Club. Check out the nature photos on this post.

Who doesn't love a good mystery? It's human nature isn't it? People are curious and drawn to discover - and thereby learn more about the world around them. Mysteries present a perfect opportunity to do just that - to expand our understanding and change our perceptions. Best of all, mysteries provide plenty of good mental exercise!

And where can mysteries be found, at anytime of year, but perhaps more so in the summer than ever? Why, right in our very own backyards!
-from By Sun and Candlelight

Those two posts remind your host of the day I spent last week with more than a dozen of my fellow teachers exploring the waters of our tiny stream as we were trained for the Adopt-A-Stream program.

What fascinating critters we found -- insect nymphs, tiny salamanders, scuttling crawdads. Your host encourages everyone to participate in an Adopt-a-Stream program for your watershed.

And 10,000 Birds has invertebrates in center ring right now as host of the 21st Circus of the Spineless.

(from 10,000 birds)

A preponderance of earthly animal life exists unencumbered by the stricture of a spinal column, yet inverts rarely get the glory afforded to the higher order organisms. That trend is certainly not going to be broken here. This site is called 10,000 Birds after all! So enjoy an edition of COTS that explores the critical role invertebrate life plays in sustaining avifauna, subtitled “Do Birds Eat That?”
-from 10,000 Birds

Barb presents The Heart of Harmony - Nature Study for Older Students posted at The Heart of Harmony, saying, "I am trying to incorporate nature journals into my high schoolers homeschooling but this blog entry would appeal to any that are trying to use nature journals in their classroom too."

So many wonderful nature centers are scattered all across America and the world. From the tiny to the grand. The folks at S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen decided to take a reptile seminar.

Well, it felt kind of weird to feel a snake go back and forth across your back to make a little ball. If snakes snored this one would. She was pretty tired looking. One of the volunteers said that they had not had so much excitement around them in a long time. So I too would curl up and take a nap after that!
-from S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen

Speaking of journals:


Be sure to check out the whole series of posts that document the journey that our friend Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect has taken to China. It is full of Learning in the Great Outdoors and more. Here is her itinerary. You'll have to click through a bunch of separate posts to see all the pics and read about the complete adventure. Here are two pictorial samples:

We are jealous, Tricia!

Don't forget the camera and sketchbook
Outdoor Art and Photos
Idle Minutes artist Don has been sketching trees lately. Here's an example.

Rurality shot a nice photo essay on the Secret Life of Roots.

Check out Woodsong for some nice nature pics and thoughtful posts.

I continue to enjoy Granny's pictures of life Walking Prescott AZ. Here are her wildflowers.

Your host delights in keeping track of the happenings along the beautiful Ribble in the mother country. Check out the gorgeous photos this month at the Ribble Cycle Diaries.

Of course you shouldn't start a vacation without a bag of good books:
The Bookshelf

Julie at Pines Above Snow has three posts about books you may want to check out. First, as promised in our last edition of LIGO, Julie visited the home of Rachel Carson, where the ailing author, born 100 years ago, wrote Silent Spring
I don’t know how she got anything done besides watching birds in her tangled backyard, but we tried to imagine where she sat, which books she stacked around her, how often she escaped to the kitchen or played with the cats instead of writing. While such musings cannot unlock the mystery of her achievement, it helped me feel closer to it and to the struggle that made it possible.
-Julie of Pines Above Snow

Then she wrote about Bats in Books in two posts. (Bat Post 1, Bat Post 2) Your host's class visits Raccoon Mountain Caverns each year.
Here's a little bat he saw:

We tie our annual springtime study of bats into the fourth grade science standards about sound and ecology. So I'm always on the lookout for bat info.

10,000 Birds reviewed the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies in a post way back in January. Even longer ago he reviewed the Sibly Guide to Birds. He wrote a review of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America in April. Your host will be toting a bag of field guides along on my summer treks, so I am glad to happen on some guidance.
The Sibley Guide to Birds, called the Birder’s Bible with good reason, is quite simply the most indispensible book in any North American bird lover’s arsenal. If a birder, sportsman, outdoor enthusiast, or nascent naturalist in your life doesn’t yet own The Sibley Guide, I urge you to remedy the situation at once!
-from 10,000 Birds

Some summer activities in the Great Outdoors don't fit neatly into our categories of posts:

Miscellaneous Summer Delights
in the Great Outdoors

The Picnic

We brought a rug for sitting on,
Our lunch was in a box.
The sand was warm. We didn't wear
Hats or shoes or socks.

Waves came curling up the beach.
We waded. It was fun.
Our sandwiches were different kinds.
I dropped my jelly one.
~Dorothy Aldis
(taken from the Loveliness Fair -see below.)
Stephanie at Stop the Ride is a great proponent of Wild Eating. Here's her recipe for stuffed wild grape leaves.

Stephanie also points the way to another Wild Foods enthusiast at Prodigal Gardens who tells us Why Eat Wild Foods?

The folks at By Sun and Candlelight enjoy feasting in the Great Outdoors.

The same blog links to the 25th edition of the Loviness Fair: The Loveliness of Taking Meals Outdoors.

Oekologie, the carnival of environmental science, is up at It is chocked full of interesting links about ecology. Check it out.

Another carnival with a dizzying array of rides is the Carnival of the Green. Check out the current edition here.

That concludes our Summer Vacation preparations. I hope you'll check here at the Limb to keep up with our summer shenanigans, and to throw a little advice my way as I work at preparing for our big nature study that begins in August.

As we struggle to become established as a clearinghouse for information, ideas, and inspiration for Learning in the Great Outdoors, we will continue to explore the internet for a few extra items that outdoor educators might find interesting. Please take a few minutes to let us know about websites and blogs that you have found helpful in any aspect of environmental education. And please submit your own posts when they might be of interest to outdoor educators, parents or children. I also welcome guest hosts. If you would like to host Learning in the Great Outdoors on your site for an upcoming month please e-mail me at thelimb(at)mac(dot)com. (Now that you are back from China, Miss Rumphias, I hope you will schedule your turn.)

Submit your post to the next edition of
learning in the great outdoors
using our
carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our
blog carnival index page

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