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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 8 and 9 Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families...

I really, really, really hope everyone participating in the nature scavenger hunt for families got out way more then we did this week. We spent our free time planning and preparing for our first long distance family flight to be disappointed with storms which prevented us from going to NS as planned. It rained here most of the week and even though we spent some time outside around the house I don't count that as being out in nature. We failed...we were not out in nature at all this week and I don't have even one picture to show you this week. I feel like I have let everyone down but that's just the way this week has been unfortunately.

Did you enjoy exploring and looking for your tasks this week? Did you manage to accomplish them all or were you busy with other bits and pieces of life like we were? This week is really the last 2 weeks combined and should be a bit of a challenge...are you ready? It's time to go on an alphabet hunt. Each day you will be given certain letters and you need to find items that start with that letter for ex R=Rock simple right? the challenge will be finding a natural item for EACH letter of the alphabet to get 200 bonus points!

Remember to upload all your photos by Aug 31st with the hashtag #2014naturehunt and the date your picture is for as well as a description of your picture to help me award points more easily.

Daily bonus points will be for finding a letter in nature that is a letter...an ex finding a stick shaped like a Y. Each natural item that is the shape of a letter will get you 5 bonus points. Please upload only one picture per letter and make sure that a long with the regular hash tags you describe your photo as Letter A=Acorn etc. REMEMBER natural items you find in nature...not at the zoo etc.


Aug 18th: A & B 10 points each
Aug 19th: C & D 10 points each
Aug 20th: E & F 10 points each
Aug 21st: G & H 
10 points each
Aug 22nd: I & J   20 points each
Aug 23rd: K & L  10 points each
Aug 24th: M & N
10 points each

Aug 25th: O & P  20 points each
Aug 26th: Q & R  20 points each
Aug 27th: S & T  10 points each
Aug 28th: U & V  20 points each
Aug 29th: W & X  20 points each
Aug 30th: Y & Z  30 points each
Aug 31st: Take a family photo in your favourite place to go in nature. 

WEEK8&9BONUS: Complete the whole alphabet and receive 200 bonus points!!!

Don't forget about the overall bonus's which may be uploaded at any time during the 9 week period:
EXTRA bonus 1: A family portrait with a waterfall 25 points
EXTRA bonus 2: Discover a cave 50 points
EXTRA bonus 3: Make art with natures bounty 25 points
EXTRA bonus 4: Go camping... show us your favourite experience while camping 25 points
EXTRA bonus 5: Explore a hiking trail and share with us some of the wonderful natural things you saw while hiking 50 points
EXTRA bonus 6: Use natural items (rocks, sticks etc) to spell the word for how being in nature makes you feel 25 points
EXTRA bonus 7: A family portrait at either a National Park or a Provincial or State park. Let me know at least one thing you learned while at this park  100 points.


I hope you have all enjoyed the past 9 weeks and hope you will play a long again next year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 7 Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families and my week 6 photos

Did you enjoy exploring with you senses this week? Was it easier or harder then you expected? I am falling behind in my own scavenger hunt. We have spent a lot of time outside but mainly at the beach or out on the river. We have had very minimal time exploring so my pictures this week are limited. 

As the summer winds down there are so many of the overall bonus's that I had great plans on exploring this summer but time is disappearing (sadly)! Where has the summer gone? Next Saturday we are going to Nova Scotia for about a week so hopefully in our travels there we will be able to accomplish some of our overall tasks as I know this week will be busy planning for our first big trip with the girls in the plane and I am not sure how much time we will get to explore this week. There is a lot of planning involved for this first big trip.

What will be doing this week? This week we will focus on certain miscellaneous items of natural beauty. 

Remember to upload all your photos by Aug 17th with the hashtag #2014naturehunt and the date your picture is for as well as a description of your picture to help me award points more easily.


Aug 11th: A Fossil that you found outside while exploring 20 points
Aug 12th: A Feather 5 points (5 bonus points for every different colour feather you find...the main colour in the feather will be counted as the colour...for ex a seagull may have white, grey and black. If the largest portion of the feather is white, it counts as white and can not count as grey or black)
Aug 13th: A Mushroom 5 Points (20 points if you can identify it)
Aug 14th: WILD animal tracks you discover while out exploring 20 points (20 bonus points if it's not bird tracks)
Aug 15th: An intricate spider web 10 points (10 bonus points if the spider is at home and/or another 10 bonus points if it's an ORB spider web)
Aug 16th: A birds nest 5 points
Aug 17th: HUG the tree with the largest circumference you can find 10 points (10 bonus points if you tell us your trees circumference, 20 bonus points if you need two people to touch hands around it, 30 bonus points if you need three people to touch hands around it, 40 bonus points if you need four or more people to touch hands around it)

WEEK7BONUS: Buy a seedling and plant a special tree in your yard. The choice of variety is yours but plant it where you can enjoy it for years to come. Show us a picture of you with your newly planted tree. 50 bonus points


Don't forget about the overall bonus's which may be uploaded at any time during the 9 week period:
EXTRA bonus 1: A family portrait with a waterfall 25 points
EXTRA bonus 2: Discover a cave 50 points
EXTRA bonus 3: Make art with natures bounty 25 points
EXTRA bonus 4: Go camping... show us your favourite experience while camping 25 points
EXTRA bonus 5: Explore a hiking trail and share with us some of the wonderful natural things you saw while hiking 50 points
EXTRA bonus 6: Use natural items (rocks, sticks etc) to spell the word for how being in nature makes you feel 25 points
EXTRA bonus 7: A family portrait at either a National Park or a Provincial or State park. Let me know at least one thing you learned while at this park  100 points.


As I mentioned above this week has been another week which has ended up being way busier then planned and the free time we had we spent at the beach and I don't always take my camera or phone for pictures so here are our (slightly pitiful) pictures for this week:

Aug 4th: Things in nature that feel smooth
The girls both said the sand was smooth.

as was the grass

and the feather

Aug 5th:  Things in nature that feel rough


Various tree barks

 Big boulder

Aug 6th: Things in nature that feel prickly


Sierra says these needles are prickly...(I neglected to get a picture of the thistles we saw!!!)

Aug 7th: Things in nature that are Camouflaged


OK So I cheated...I saw this moth last week but I am adding him here anyway as we didn't find anything camouflaged this week and since I am not participating for points I'm using it just to show you :)

Aug 8th: Things in nature that you hear...how does it sound?


We heard the wind. It sounded soft as it created very small waves, lapping on the lake.


We also heard the sounds of the bees buzzing on flowers while playing at the park.

Aug 9th: Things in nature that you smell...how does it smell?


These wild roses smelled very sweet.

Aug 10th: Things in nature that you can taste. Identify what it is and describe how it tastes

We found a patch of wild chives...Sierra said it tasted yucky and Aayla said it tasted yummy... we didn't find any blueberries, raspberries or blackberries which should all be available now.


They also tasted tree sap...Sierra said it tasted totally disgusting and Aayla just shrugged her shoulders.

WEEK6BONUS: Show us a picture of something you found interesting in nature this week. Tell us: Why was it interesting to you? Try to use all your senses to explore this item you found. Explain how your item feels, smells, tastes (if possible), looks and sounds. 50 bonus points

We have two pictures to share...

First is of a rainbow we saw while boating up the river towards home after a day at the beach/lake. It was interesting to the girls because it was a rainbow without rain. We couldn't touch the rainbow as it just went through our hands. It had no smell, we couldn't tastes it and it had no sound but it sure was fun to watch.

The next interesting this we saw this week was a young raccoon in the middle of the day. Again all we could do was to watch him so not a great example for using all our senses but you don't often get to see raccoons in the day and this little guy hung around on the ground for awhile before heading up into the tree.

Happy hunting for week 7 everyone!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 6 Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families Tasks and my week 5 photos

Did you enjoy your bug hunt this week? Was it a little out of your element? I had my brother visiting this week and barely completed our own tasks but we did get to explore a little bit. I haven't had a chance to even look at your pictures yet but will get the points up sometime on Monday.

What will be doing this week? This week we will focus on our senses. We tend to take in nature with our eyes but you can experience so much more by using more of your senses.

Remember to upload all your photos by Aug 10th with the hashtag #2014naturehunt and the date your picture is for as well as a description of your picture to help me award points more easily.

To gain bonus points this week it will be like the colour week. Please choose one photo to upload with proper hashtags and descriptions. Please add all your additional pictures in the comment thread for each tasks main picture. This will keep everyone's photos together and hopefully make point counting a bit easier on my end :)

Aug 4th: Things in nature that feel smooth
Aug 5th: Things in nature that feel rough
Aug 6th: Things in nature that feel prickly
Aug 7th: Things in nature that are camoflagued
Aug 8th: Things in nature you can hear...describe what it sounds like
Aug 9th: Things in nature you can smell...describe how it smells
Aug 10th: Things in nature you can taste... describe how it tastes and also identify to us what you are tasting and DO NOT TASTE ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT POSITIVE WHAT IT IS!!! I'm thinking like wild blueberries, raspberries, apples etc that you KNOW are not poisonous. PLEASE DO NOT try anything you are unsure of as there are a lot of plants etc that are poisonous and we don't need any accidental poisonings!

WEEK6BONUS: Show us a picture of something you found interesting in nature this week. Tell us: Why was it interesting to you? Try to use all your senses to explore this item you found. Explain how your item feels, smells, tastes (if possible), looks and sounds. 50 bonus points


Don't forget about the overall bonus's which may be uploaded at any time during the 9 week period:
EXTRA bonus 1: A family portrait with a waterfall 25 points
EXTRA bonus 2: Discover a cave 50 points
EXTRA bonus 3: Make art with natures bounty 25 points
EXTRA bonus 4: Go camping... show us your favourite experience while camping 25 points
EXTRA bonus 5: Explore a hiking trail and share with us some of the wonderful natural things you saw while hiking 50 points
EXTRA bonus 6: Use natural items (rocks, sticks etc) to spell the word for how being in nature makes you feel 25 points
EXTRA bonus 7: A family portrait at either a National Park or a Provincial or State park. Let me know at least one thing you learned while at this park  100 points.


May you all enjoy week 6.

Here are my week 5 photos:

July 28th: Beetle 5 points (10 bonus points if you can identify it)

We found a ground beetle.

July 29th: Snail 10 points (10 bonus points if your find a snail for each family member and have snail races. Take a picture of the winner crossing your line)

A fail for us this week. we did find this big slug

July 30th: Ants 5 points (10 bonus points: how many body parts do insects have and what are they?)


We found many, many, many ants! Insects have 3 body parts called the head, thorax and abdomen.

July 31st: Worm 10 points (5 bonus points if you find a worm over 5"long...use a measuring tape in the picture)

We found a couple worms but none of them were big enough to break out a tape measure.

Aug 1st: Pill bug aka rollie pollie 5 points (1 bonus points for each additional pill bug in the same picture up to 25)


I forgot to do this and ran out in the dark tonight. To be honest I got lucky in having three in the picture :)

Aug 2nd: Spider 5 points (10 bonus points if he is pictured in his web)


We have lots of spiders around Wasaga Beach but I found this little guy building his web over the top of a rotting tree stump which I found quite interesting.

Aug 3rd: Centipede or millipede 10 points (5 bonus points if you tell me what the difference is between the two)

We found a large round millipede. He was all curled up and he wouldn't open up but you can see all his legs tucked in around his body.
Here are some differences between centipedes and millipedes which came from HERE.
CharacteristicCentipedeMillipede
Antennaelongshort
Number of Legsone pair per body segmenttwo pairs per body segment, except for the first three segments, which have one pair each
Appearance of Legsvisibly extend from sides of body; trail backward behind bodydo not visibly extend from body; rear leg pairs in line with body
Movementfast runnersslow walkers
Ability to Bitecan bitedo not bite
Feeding Habitsmostly predatorymostly scavengers

WEEKLY BONUS5: Invite bugs to your back yard (your birds will thank you). Make a "bug hotel" and take a picture of your finished hotel 25 points


We made our bug hotel out of leaves, sticks, pine needles, pince cones and bark. we used bricks as the walls and added a feather for the chimney. We nestled in between a couple ferns so it would feel at home in our yard.

A few more pictures of some of the things we saw on our bug hunt this week.

A field cricket:
 Not sure what this green bug is or the reddish beetle

We did find a garter snake in our neighbours woodpile down by their dock one day.

 This moth had beautiful orange under wings but I couldn't get a picture of it in flight. I think it may be a Once-Married Underwing.

I look forward to hopefully having a bit more time to explore our senses this week. I can't believe how fast the summer is flying by and I have so many extra bonus activity points to complete...Where has all the time gone? I hope you are enjoying your time out in nature exploring as much as you can.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, Ontario Parks

Last week we were passing by Forks of the Credit Provincial Park so we stopped in for a few hours. We didn't see even 1/4 of the park (which was sad since it cost $14 for the day) but we had a great time exploring what we got to see.
 We followed the Meadow trail around to the pond, stopping to take pictures of flowers






and hug trees along the way.
Until we reached the pond.
 It took the girls less then 30 seconds to realize how many frogs there were in the pond and began the task of trying to catch some.
 Sierra lives to catch frogs...she gets very "into" it creeping up on the frogs ever so carefully.
 I was excited to see the Northern Leopard Frogs as they are the first we have seen of these frogs this year. There were literally hundreds of them. Every step you took around the pond you had to do very slowly because there were likely a few frogs sitting along the path. See the four pictured below? Each step you took looked like this and even more frogs jumped out of your way at times.

Sierra was the first to catch one.


She got her mind set on catching a big one...

But she didn't have any luck...she did catch a few different small ones, and let them go right after she caught them.

 We also saw some of these brown frogs that looked very similar to the Northern Leopard Frogs. I think they are Pickerel frogs but I am not certain because Northern leopard frogs can be either brown or green.


Aayla kept trying and trying and trying until she finally did it! She caught a frog all by herself!


After playing here for close to 2 hours everyone was hungry so we walked the approx 10 minute walk back to the car for lunch. There were some picnic tables (a bit over grown) along the ponds edge where we could have eaten if we brought our lunches on the trail.

After lunch we walked back around the other side of the pond through the fields of milkweed.

The fields were literally FULL of milkweed and were so pretty.

There were butterflies everywhere but armed only with my phone these are the best shots I could get of the monarchs.


The view overlooking the pond was beautiful too.

We continued our walk back down to the pond.

And of course once we got there we had to stop and try catching another frog or two.

Here Sierra is illustrating how fast the frogs jump when you try to catch them.

 Hopping fast or not she still managed to catch another frog before we had to leave.


 Aayla didn't have any luck this time but she did have fun playing in the muck at the edge of the pond. The girls also saw a big black bug in the water. I didn't see it but from their description it sound like a big water beetle.


 The trails around the pond were partly mowed meadows and partly a dirt trail. Neither of which would be very wheel chair or stroller friendly if you are thinking of heading to visit this park. If your kids like to hike they should be able to complete the trek around the pond with little issues (remember there is a $14 day use fee here but there are outhouses and shaded picnic tables near the parking lot).

I would have liked to explore more of the park as I have heard there is a nice waterfall here but the girls were having so much fun at the pond that pulling them away would have just upset them and then the walk would not have been fun anyway. I am glad they had so much fun catching and releasing the frogs.

Please remember that if you go out to try to catch some frogs that you do so with clean hands and no hand cream or hand sanitizer on them. Also only handle the frogs for a minute or two as frogs breath through their skin and long term handling of them can hurt them as can hand lotions. It's great to be able to visit with the frogs and examine them but you don't want to hurt them.


A baby toad that hoped right in front of us on the trail.


 And finding a sweet little heart rock was the perfect ending to a great walk.