Monday, September 17, 2007

Nature Notes

As part of Jacob's studies with the First Grade curriculum from Mater Amabilis, he will study Geography. This study includes:

*Map studies
*Family Geography - making a family tree and then researching several places where relatives were born
*Earth Studies - Rivers, Oceans and other water habitats.

We needed to choose a local water habitat to visit throughout the year. We will observe its characteristics and note how things change with seasons and weather. I had lofty hopes of choosing a the coolest water habitat around. I am not sure where that would be, but my common sense got the best of me and we opted to make our visits to a nearby park that sits on a creek. I am hopeful that in choosing this nearby location, we will go more often and that it will not require great superhuman feats to get there! I hope. I want it to be something we enjoy doing - not stressful.

And enjoy it we did. Today we spent our lunch time doing a little nature exploration. The weather was so pleasant yesterday and we were hopeful that the slight coolness and breeze in the air might linger a bit today. (Just a note: We get a bit silly here in Houston when the temperatures dip below 90 degrees. Really! The humidity was even down to 48 percent - glorious.) It was a bit warmer at midday when we headed out with our lunch bag, picnic blanket, bags for collecting treasures and our camera (got a new one over the weekend- you know to replace the recently busted one). We drove a short 3 or 4 minutes to our local park that sits on Clear Creek. We chose a spot to picnic in the shade. It was nice and pleasant and breezy. After eating, we made our way down to the water. We couldn't get as close to the water as we would have liked at this location in the park, but we were still able to observe. Maybe next time we can find a spot to get a little closer. The kids had fun looking closely at their surroundings and collecting items to add to our nature collection. We took a short walk through a little herb garden and then we spent some time playing on the playground equipment. It was a thoroughly enjoyable outing.

Here are a few photos of some of our observations. Now, mind you, these do not rival the gorgeous nature photos Melissa takes, but I offer them just the same. Enjoy!

Anybody know what these flowers are?

Clear Creek - yeah, I know, it's not really clear.

Weeds along the creek! WOW!

We really like these pretty lavender flowers growing amongst the weeds.

Can you see the blue damselfly? We had fun following him around and trying to snap his portrait.

Golden Silk Spider - it is a giant. We have seen these a couple of places lately.

Pine tree sap oozing from the trunk of this tree - nifty.

These berries were the prettiest purple. I looked them up and found out the plant is called Purple Beautyberry. How appropriate.

A little brown froggy we saw hopping along. He was very well camouflaged and no bigger than a quarter.

We marveled at these lumpy things growing on this dead log. We guess they are some sort of fungus. It made us want to pull out this Magic School Bus book.


Mom of boys said...

For a moment, I thought about comparing Armand Bayou Center with the beach. Way too lofty, I am thinking.

So far we have been visiting Horsepen Creek (or Bayou?). So much closer...

Crafty Mom said...

Funny! I thought for sure I knew where you went and now have no idea. I was betting on (I think it is still clear creek), where we met that one day for a visit to the park. The water overflows its banks all the time. Was it there or not?? Either way you found some way cool stuff. And happy birthday a little late... to you! Looks like it was fabulous!

Melissa said...

How wonderful! I love the whole concept of your water habitat studies. Your day sounds like it was perfect! And I LOVE your nature photos!!! You guys get to see so many cool things that we just never really get to see here. I am so glad you shared your outing with us!

mom-in-training said...

How fun!!! The photos look great! I bet the kids had so much fun on their little nature picnic. I have thought about doing something similar since the weather has been better. I need to get everybody well first!