Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pine Trees

Pine tree

Finally getting back into our nature study!  We were so excited to have a plan and get moving along!

So after looking at the Winter Study ideas on THIS blog – we decided to take on Challenge #5 : Pine Trees

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Winter Series #5

Pine Trees in Winter

Inside Preparation Work:
This week read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 670-675 to learn more about pine trees. Even if you don’t think you have any pines in your area, it is still interesting to read the information for future reference. Make sure to note the ideas suggested for studying pines in the lesson at the end of the section.
Outdoor Hour Time:
Spend 15 minutes outdoors this week with your children in your own yard or on your own street. This week you will have two suggested activities.

We chose this one primarily because we have lots of our own pine trees.  I hope to go back and do a few of the other challenges because we really are enjoying this one!

pine cones on tree

What we learned :

What a conifer is : a cone bearing tree.  We talked about how the lead branch of the tree (the one that grows the tallest and is the “leader” ) had a beetle that likes to eat the top, bore into the branch, and then eventually kill the branch.  ~Interesting!  Another interesting part is that another branch then will take over the leadership role and lead the tree.

{We learned all this from our Handbook of Nature Study by Anne Comstock}

We also learned that the Pine Trees on the West coast grow about 100 ft taller (200-300 ft) then those on the East Coast (100-200 ft).  This was interesting too, since we were able to talk about the trees we saw in person last year in Maine and Oregon!

pinecones a

I hope to sketch some pine cones later this week – maybe a couple different kinds.

Yesterday we did enjoy watercolor painting pine trees though :

So, I am looking forward to working through many challenges each season as we are more deliberate about getting out and studying the nature right here in our yard!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Look Back : Maine

It has been a while since I have posted anything here, so while sorting some pictures for J’s blog I found some good ones from Maine.  We spent about 2 weeks in Maine in 2010 and took many great pictures of our explorations.  We always get to see, touch and examine many life forms native to that part of the country! 

One of our favorites is when we are in Maine for the Friendship Day celebration.  There is a conservancy organization that comes out with a salt water baby pool full of creatures found by the locals (mostly Lobster –men).

touch tank

We have held (or touched) lobsters, crabs, horse-shoe crabs, flounder, cod, sea cucumber, star fish, and more than I can remember.  Last year, a lobster-man pulled up while we were there with a yellow lobster – they are super rare!  About 1 in 500,000 are yellow.  It was pretty cool to see such a rare one!

The kids favorite part of Maine is playing in lowtide at the house.   This past year, they took buckets down with them, filled them with a little water and then made their own touch tanks!  Theirs did not vary as much as the one in Friendship, but it was fun!  Mostly they collected hermit crabs, who Uncle Brian taught them to find.


boys at low tide with brian

brian and lisa pics from maine 063 

maine 2010 family lobster day 030 maine 2010 family lobster day 027

Maine is our favorite place in the world, aside from home.  We love to see all the fun stuff we find in tide pools, or get to explore along the coast in general!