Nature Education at Home and in Your Backyard

We know how difficult this is for everyone… including the children! Wild Bear Nature Center is providing fun videos (homemade!) and educational resources for your family. We ARE Nature.

Please check in to find fun things to do including outdoor activities and nature crafts!

We will be updating this daily!

Interactive Videos!

  1. Join Wild Bear’s Michelle Witte (Roots) in THIS VIDEO, who shows us how to make your own journal out of recycled materials! Then head out to the woods with her to find a “sit spot” to really notice the magical details of nature! “Roots” notices the Lichens and tells us a story about how important they are to our health! Did you know Lichen is an indicator of healthy air? What details are you noticing? Draw, write, paint in your journal all of the amazing things you find in your backyard.
  2. What is this COVID thing ANYWAY?  Meet the Super Hero and DON’T BE A HOST!  THIS VIDEO will explain our poster contest too!  Enjoy! All ages are invited.
  3. This video includes a story and a guided hike to Mud Lake to use your senses!  All ages are invited.
  4. This video takes you inside the nature center to meet the BIG BUGS, the Turtles, Salamanders and Mrs. Tiggy Winkle the hedgehog!  All ages are invited.
  5. Meet Milly the Millipede and she will lead your though a math lesson! Can you figure out how many legs she has?  See this video!

 

 

 

Activity ideas!

Get out, stay in, wherever you are, here are some ideas to help you discover incredible things about the natural world  all around you!

Create Your Own ‘Life Cycle of a Butterfly’

 Create your own step by step diagram of a butterfly’s life cycle as it transforms through the incredible process of metamorphosis

Start with this fun video! What’s the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis? How about the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Let’s find out together.

Metamorphosis is a process some animals go through to become adults. It is a series of physical changes and different stages. 

Butterflies, and all other insects, start their lives inside of eggs. The adult female butterfly will typically lay one egg at a time, and lay it on a plant that the baby butterfly or caterpillar will enjoy eating once it leaves its egg. Baby insects like caterpillars are known as larva. Caterpillars will eat as much of their favorite plants as they can when in the larva stage of their life cycle. They need to store up a lot of energy and resources to transform themselves into adults. When ready caterpillars will enter the pupa stage of their life cycle and their body changes into a chrysalis. The chrysalis is the outer part of the once caterpillar’s body that hardens to inside the to-be butterfly can get hard to work at transforming into a butterfly! After enough time has passed, the pupa will have changed into an adult butterfly and will make a hole and climb out of its chrysalis to go and start its life as a pollinator!  

Tips for making your own Butterfly Life Cycle!

  • Get creative! 
    • Use household items to build a diagram. 
    • Take it to the trails and build a life cycle out of natural found items on the forest floor!
    • Create a work of art with colored pencils, markers, paint, and/or magazine clippings of a butterfly changing throughout its life.

Send us photos of your completed life cycles for a chance to be featured on our social media! Email your project to education@wildbear.org

 

Grow a Tree… From a Pinecone!

What is a Pinecone? Pine trees are CONIFEROUS, that is, they are cone-bearing. The female cones (seen below) hold the seeds. The male cones are much smaller and release the pollen to pollinate the female cones. Inside these pinecones which you find on the ground, are likely fertilized seeds!  So, let’s plant some trees, shall we?  See this link to learn a little bit more about pinecones!

1. Go to the woods and find a pinecone.🌲🌲🌲
2. Put the cone in a pot – so that most of it stands out.
3. Water it every day with a small amount of water, not too much it will rot!
4. After some time, a tiny tree will appear.
5. Congratulations – you just started oxygen production and you have a piece of forest in your own home. 🌲🌲🌲

Wild Bear’s Nature Bingo!

 

 

Follow this link to this fun activity while hiking local trails, or exploring your own yard!

Create your own Nature Journal!

Make one, then hit the trails, or observe out your window/yard

Find your materials. You’ll need:

  1. Construction paper (or you could recycle the cereal box!) to use as your cover
  2. About 5-10 pieces of plain paper
  3. Hole punch or stapler
  4. Yarn or string for binding
  5. Old nature magazine clippings, glue sticks, markers and colored pencils, to use to decorate your cover

 

Now put it together!

  1. Fold the cover and other plain paper in half (hamburger style)
  2. Place the papers inside the cover, then create the binding by making three holes on the folded edge of the papers.
  3. Tie bows with your yarn through each of the holes.
  4. Decorate your journal in your own style!
  5. Hit the trails and start documenting your observations or creating some art!

Signs of Spring checklist

  • Signs of Spring checklist
    •  ___Birds building nests, and singing!
    •  ___New insects appearing
    •  ___Flowers blooming
    •  ___Bears awakening from hibernation
    •  ___Longer and warmer days
    •  ___Leaves returning to deciduous trees
    •  ___Snow melt from mountains running in creeks

 

 

 

Wild Bear Virtual Science Fair! (Ages 7+)

We know many schools’ science fairs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to make sure that the students’ hard work is celebrated! 

Wild Bear will be hosting a Virtual Science Fair for the next several weeks so that students can share their hard work, get rewarded for their creativity, and so families can gain some new ideas for crafts and at-home science experiments!

Here’s how it works:

Students or their families can post their experiments on Facebook, tag Wild Bear Nature Center, and use the hashtag #WildBearScienceFair, or email their projects to Michelle at education@wildbear.org. The post/email should include photos and/or videos and a summary of the experiment so that other families can learn from them and maybe also try them at home.

Anyone who submits before May 4th will receive a Wild Bear gift bag, and may even be featured on our social media.

Who Can Enter: Any student or family who wants to share a science fair project or at-home science experiment! Need help with ideas or resources? Email us! Send questions or ideas to  education@wildbear.org

Happy experimenting!

Explore with All Your Senses!

All animals rely on their senses to explore and understand their habitats. They need their different senses to survive. Senses help animals find food, communicate, move around, build their homes, protect themselves from predators, and so much more!

Explore your home and nearby nature areas with all of your senses with the following fun activities!

 

Touch:

An animal’s sense of touch can be a vital tool for them to survive. Many animals use their sense of touch to navigate their environment. 

Feeling it! Scavenger hunt: Find Something in your home or nearby while outside that is…

  1. Smooth 
  2. Rough 
  3. Pokey 
  4. Slimy 
  5. Hard 
  6. Soft 
  7. Wet 
  8. Hairy 
  9. Bumpy

 

 

Scent

Scent investigations

Bears have one of the strongest senses of smells of any terrestrial mammals! Let’s practice being like a bear. Smell has a strong connection to our memories. To be able to share our observations on what we are smelling we need to use descriptive words, or adjectives. You might describe fresh baked cookies as sweet, or tasty for example.

  1. For this activity, find at least four things that have a smell in nature, such as pine needles, mud, or tree bark. 
  2. Write down or draw the name of each object you find. Smell each of them, thinking about how to describe the smells. Do they smell good? Bad? Weak or strong? Do they remind you of anything? 
  3. Discuss what you found with your family or friends. Tell them your answers to these questions: 
  4. What was your favorite smell that you found? 
  5. What smell was the strongest? Did you like the strong smell? 
  6. Do you think any of the smells you found could be food to some animal? Why or why not?

 

Eyesight

Humans rely on their eyesight more than any other sense. Scientists estimate that 80% of our understanding of what is happening around us comes from our eyesight. 

Go outside your home, and look for the following shapes and colors in nature! Record your observations in your nature journal!

  1. Find an item in the shape of a triangle
  2. Find an item in the shape of a square 
  3. Find an item in the shape of a circle
  4. Find an item that is an odd shape, try to sketch it
  5. Find something that is red
  6. Find something that is green
  7. Find something that is brown
  8. Find something that is blue
  9. Find something with more than one color

 

Citizen Science Opportunities:

 

 

Learn more about Citizen Science and how you can play an important role by participating in scientific by watching this video!

 

 

 

 

 

For Kids:

Childhood by Nature

Childhood by Nature has several easy, fun, and educational projects for kids of all ages to get involved with and contribute to real scientific data collection that makes an impact.

For Anyone:

I See Change

I See Change is a great project for all types of folks anywhere to track environmental changes in their hometown. Check it out!

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