Monday, July 02, 2007

Learning in the Great Outdoors: Fourth Edition

Celebrating America
in the Great Outdoors

Here at the Limb, we live right downtown with the levee in our backyard. Each Independence Day we throw a party in our little bit of the Great Outdoors. We say a prayer of thanksgiving for the liberty proclaimed that July the Fourth, bought by the blood, sweat, toil, and tears of our forebears, and guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Then we feast on barbecue and all the trimmings, climb the levee with our lawn chairs and settle back, faces to the heavens to witness a grand display of fireworks while across the river loudspeakers stir us with the 1812 Overture and other patriotic music.

This Independence Day, as you celebrate our great nation, take a little time to appreciate its natural wonders.

An Independence Day edition of


Tiffany Washko is concerned this Independence Day about a Nature Deficit Disorder among our young folk and along the way discusses the book (right) Last Child in the Woods. Check out the Natural Family Living Blog:
"I cannot believe the number of elementary school age children that have cell phones, mp3 players, blackberries, and portable video games systems. Now my own son is asking for a cell phone because so many of his kindergarten friends have them."
-Tiffany Washko
Julie Dunlap at Pines Above Snow, who also writes about Last Child in the Woods, reviews a book that follows opspreys south to Cuba: Soaring with Fidel .
"What better way to celebrate the 2007 centennial of Rachel Carson’s birth than a new book about ospreys, a raptor saved by the anti-pesticide outcry sparked by Silent Spring?
-Julie Dunlap
Just last month your host enjoyed watching ospreys hunting from the bay bridge and building their messy nest atop the water tower on Saint George Island, Florida.

On Independence Day, surely we will see something that - like the reviewers of Last Child in the Woods, above - Ms. Bluebird of Bluebird's Classroom says is becoming an endangered sight: children in the out-of-doors. She asks: Where are all the kids? (This and the next entry are not about books but fit the theme of these two reviews.)

Karen Halls presents The Chat Room Addict, Teen Chat Rooms and the Possible Dangers posted at Addiction Recovery Blog.

Charlie at 10,000 Birds has reviewed another field guide, this time it's Peterson's Gulls of the Americas. You'll want to look around at some of 10,000 Birds other wonderful posts about the natural world.

"Many insect songs are at a much higher pitch than bird songs; most range from 4 kHz to 20 kHz and are harder for humans to hear. One aid towards learning to identify different insects is The Songs of Insects, a new book by Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger."

So writes John in his Review: Lang Elliott on the Songs of Insects and Birds posted at A DC Birding Blog. Perhaps today, between the pop, boom, and sizzle of fireworks and the grand crescendos of man-made music, we can take time to notice the background hum, crackle, buzz, and chirp of nature.

You can count on our next contributor to review a children's book about the natural world often, and this month has been no different. Rather than sizzle, Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect found the book she reviews here a bit of a fizzle, though she likes the idea of the series. Tricia also posts poetry often. We in Georgia are in the midst of the worst drought of a hundred years. Today we got our best rain of recent memory. So when I noticed Tricia had posted a poem called "Summer Rain," I had to check it out.

One of my favorite kid's lit websites is Bookwink where Sonja Cole produces excellent video reviews of children's books. Here she stands below a volcano on Maui to report on two books about volcanoes.

Nature Trails & Outdoor Excursions

During the very first science lesson of each school year your host gleefully announces to his eager fourth graders that this is the year we get to study yucky stuff in science. They are thrilled. The picture is taken without permission from a site that includes a variety of scat photos. Click on the pic of bear scat to further ruin your appetite. The same website features an Einstein quote I'd not heard before:

"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."

- Albert Einstein -

DHM presents Affinities "...the greatest find of all, ever, anywhere, at any time,..."posted at The Common Room.

Sheppard Salter presents Reminiscing On Hiking posted at

Mark25 presents Planning A Fishing Vacation For The Whole Family posted at

Terrell (your host) at Alone On A Limb says his daughter has just gotten back from quite an excursion. See the pictures here.

Outdoor Classrooms

If you thought the Bear Scat post above was distasteful you may want to skip this paragraph about outdoor yucky ed:
"They also found a dead deer. Hub cut it open and the kids were able to examine it. I was told all four stomachs were full of grass/greens, and that the intestines looked like sausages."
Silvia Barrett writes about this lovely scenario, Living Earth School -- Kate and Hub Knott posted at Po Moyemu--In My Opinion, saying, "This is a fantastic program for kids ages 7 and up. My son is going to be going to a week of summer camp there in July, following in his sister's footsteps."

Terrell (your host) at Alone On A Limb tells about an environmental education conference he attended recently and about how his school has used the environment in the last few years. I think you will find some useful links at How to Teach in the Great Outdoors.

Reigh Belisama at Save the Ribble posts some pics of A Wetland Wonderland in the Mother Country. The same writer posts more great pics. of this wetland at The Ribble Cycle Diaries.

Outdoor Eating

Just look at that frying pan full of fritters! Your host tried several recipes from Euell Gibbons' books back in the early seventies. I remember trying acorn bread; day lily blossums, buds, and tubers; and poke salad. Stephanie presents Eating Wild Flowers posted at Stop the Ride!, saying, "The Milkweed can't be confused with Dogbane now! :)" (Ed. Note: Don't pick on me Stepahnie!)

Back Indoors

A History Teacher has noticed that TeacherTube has expanded its services and more ways to use GoogleEarth.

While you are at the computer -- there must be a deluge outside -- check out some of the other outdoors oriented Blog Carnivals:
Festival of the Trees
I and the Bird
Circus of the Spineless
Carnival of the Green

Cool VirtualOutdoors website of the month: Click on the logo below to visit EEK - brought to you by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This electronic magazine is for kids in grades 4-8. Let your students surf around it and learn more about the great outdoors.

That concludes this edition. Oh, I wish I had more time to work on this -- I've only scratched the surface. Please forgive mistakes and omissions. AND please help us out by submitting a few good sites you've found each month.

Our fifth edition of Learning in the Great Outdoors will be hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tricia says she has "...worked as a boat hand on a private yacht, assembled physics equipment in a factory, and even tested dog biscuits for fat content. I now hold the two best jobs in the world. One is teacher, and the other is Mom." Besides The Miss Rumphius Effect Tricia participates in three other cooperative weblogs. We are pleased to have Tricia as the first guest host of Learning in the Great Outdoors. Submit your blog article to the next edition of using our carnival submission form or by sending a link directly to Tricia at pstohrhu(at)richmond(dot)edu.

If you would like to host a future edition of Learning in the Great Outdoors please jot a note to terrellshaw(at)mac(dot)com. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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