Biodiversity …I Spy…No Child Left Inside

Just Another Nature Enthusiast has posted a challenge this month, to focus on the biodiversity around us.  For the last six years, since we moved to the farm, documenting biodiversity has been one of my favorite pastimes, so I am going to do a series of posts.

It has been an unusual spring here in East Texas.  Our average rainfall for May is about 5 inches; so far we have had 12.5 inches! Of course the two days it didn’t rain, when I would have loved to stay home and accomplish something here, were two Saturdays that I had volunteered to help on some Girl Scout nature hikes.  I had a great time with the groups, and ended up seeing some wonderful creatures that I don’t usually see here.

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The hikes are scheduled to be two hours long, but with moving at the girls’ pace, and stopping for animal observations and frequent questions, they end up being more like three hours long.

On one hike, the girls were fourth graders from a suburban area.  They said that they lived where there were lots of stores and businesses, but also a lot of parks.  They were interested in everything, and when we saw a box turtle they stood perfectly still and quiet for ten minutes, waiting patiently for the turtle to stick out its head from its shell.  When we saw snakes, they moved calmly to get a good look, one at a time. They asked observant questions, like “What made that tree grow sideways?”  It was so much fun to be out with them, and my impression was that they were pretty knowledgeable about nature.

But when I had them write down one thing they learned, they wrote things like, “I didn’t know there were different kinds of trees,” and “I didn’t know turtles could close their shells.”  So I was glad I had opened their eyes to some new aspects of nature, It reconfirmed my belief that sharing nature with kids is one of the most important things I can do.