Nature, the Best Teacher!

I am being challenged to learn about our surroundings just as much as the kids.  Every time I turn around, there’s something else to look up and learn about.  Some of these pictures are reminders to myself to “go look it up!!”

Up until this summer, the kids hadn’t ever seen moss.  Now they point it out everywhere and notice how different it can be.
DD examined a bird’s nest we found.  LD then carried it for the rest of the afternoon to bring back to add to his nature collection.
There are two types of ferns in our woods.  This is a reminder to myself to hunt down their names!
A couple days later: I had time to browse through the internet for a few minutes. My best guess is that the fern on top is a “deer fern” and the one below that is a “lady fern.”

Here are a few other tidbits I learned: Did you know that ferns don’t produce seeds or fruit? They reproduce via the germination of spores.  Ferns are among the world’s oldest plants (along with cycads which grew near some of the waterholes in Central Australia we used to visit. It was amazing since so much of central Australia is dry/arid.).  There are fossil records of ferns as long ago as 360 million years (the crinoid (sea lily) fossils we found earlier this summer were probably from about that time or later. Here’s another post about our fossil finds.).  But, many of the current fern species date back only 145 million years.

There are lots of frogs croaking on the banks of the creek.  This 3-inch frog was out exploring the woods too when we came across it!
As we walk along the kids will often gather leaves, acorns and other seeds.  I try to identify them as much as I can, but have had to haul a number home just to re-learn them myself.  I have to say, seventh grade was a LOOOooooooong time ago (when we studied leaves)!!!

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