“So come, get ready. Don’t delay! We’re on a a nature trail today!” -Maurice Pledger
July, of course, is high summer with all sorts of interesting things to see on the nature trail, and Elizabeth impresses me every day with her observant eyes. My husband made a comment on it and I said that I thought that it was partly because she is closer to the ground than we are, but of course, it’s more than that. Kids have amazing observational skills, that can be honed to be more sharp if encouraged, or diminished with discouragement. Here are some of the things my 4-year-old discovered this month on our property. While out riding bikes by our garage one evening, Elizabeth, who has been on the look out for a toad or frog since we found one hopping along the trail one day, heard/spotted this one. Unfortunately for this toad, it was partly inside of a snake’s mouth. We tried to not disturb the snake too much, but it did get spooked enough to spit out it’s dinner, which is too bad for both the snake and the toad. Probably ranking as one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the property so far was this Red Eft, the juvenile morph of the Eastern Newt. My husband found it right next to the front porch, and it hung out there for about 24 hours. Because their skin secretions are toxic, we washed our hands after touching it, and tried to not bother it too much, hoping it would stick around for a while. One of the books in the Moving Beyond The Page curriculum is Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe, in which a boy joins his friends as they catch fireflies. So, since fireflies are out now, I thought I’d let Elizabeth get an experience similar to the one in the story so that she could empathize with the character. Twice now we have braved the mosquitoes and caught fireflies in her butterfly net in the twilight. We put them in a jar with cheese cloth on the top and let her keep them in her room over night, before letting them go the following day. There are a few of these plants off of our trail, near the field end of it. Last month we observed the little white flowers it had, this month we were checking out the fruit, which is slowly turning gold and looks like it belongs on a Christmas wreath. We don’t know what it is, so if any readers know better than us, we’d love to know! The last exciting thing we found this month on our nature trail were the blueberries and blackberries at the end of it. Here’s a picture of our first bounty, and sadly, they are both all ready done in our garden. Note worthy: this year, the domestic blackberries produced a ton of fruit, and the fruit of the wild bushes was left to the birds. Do you take your kids on nature walks? What are some interesting things you have seen together?