So today we are going out to take a close look at an area around your house, or in a park, or some other natural area. The cool part is that this activity can be done anywhere! The idea of being a Square Foot Naturalist is to explore a 1'x1' area with great abandonment coupled with the detailed focus of a CSI field agent.
Head outside and find yourself a little spot of Earth to explore. I have a 1'x1' wooden square that I use as a frame to help keep myself focused on a small area ( I am easily drawn to look around). You can use a bigger square if you want to. You and your kid(s) can explore the same area, or each of you can have your own area. Then simply start exploring your square foot of Earth. I usually do not dig into the ground, although that can be a fun exploration to do. Spend some time looking at what is in your small area. That can be the extent of your exploration, simply looking at what you find. If you take a little while, maybe 15-20 minutes, it can help calm the mind. I have found that kids who have attention "issues", can thrive with this activity. Just for fun, every once in a while stop looking down at the ground and look around with your owl eyes and listen with your deer ears to take in what is going on around you.
If you want to, you can get into more detail with your spot. To really get into your exploration, bring a journal to record your finds. I have found it is interesting to explore the same spot in each season. You might be surprised to see how much the area might change throughout the year. You can get as detailed as you and your kid(s) want to. To experience your area in a whole different way, bring a magnifying glass or a jewelers loupe. I find that if you first spend some time exploring your area without a magnifying device, and then explore the same area under magnification, the results can be really fascinating!
Now off you go! Explore your area and become a Square Foot Naturalist! I would love to hear about your discoveries!
http://www.the-private-eye.com/index.html A website and book about exploring nature up close! You can purchase loupes here as well as the book Private Eye.
At thanksgiving dinner I was talking with one of the followers of "What's Out There" and he was saying that his daughter was making ceramic Cardinal Direction letters to put up in the house. What a great project! Let us know how your family is exploring nature! And if you would like to receive this blog in an email, please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
This month we have a wonderful natural event that does not occur very often. A BLUE MOON! A blue moon is when we have 13 FULL moons in one year. That means that one month has two full moons. This year we get two full moons in December! The first full moon of this month was on the second. The second, or BLUE MOON is on the 31st! Not only is there a Blue Moon this year, but the Blue Moon is on New Years Eve! Really pretty cool!
A Blue Moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern of the moon. As I mentioned, most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately every 28 days, but in addition to that normal lunar cycle, each calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days. The extra days add up so that every two or three years, 2.72 to be exact, there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon."
So if you missed the "normal" full moon this week, make sure you take a few moments to enjoy the Blue Moon on New Years Eve! Hey it might be a great way to mark the end of one year and the beginning of a new one with your family!