Youth and Family Programs
We expect these education and stewardship programs for youth and families to begin in late 2021, with a full slate of such programming available in 2022. The list below contains examples of exciting activities coming:
- Nature Newsletters and Youth & Family Activities to carry out at home
- Community Interpretive Walks and Hikes
- Think Like A Scientist Program: possible topics include
- Trees and Me
- Forest Ecology
- Native and Invasive Species
- Wonders of Wetlands
- Salmon and Streams
- Bird Brains
- Wildlife Tracking
- Monthly Stewardship Saturdays
Things you can do now: Start a Nature Journal
While we are facing many challenges to education and opportunities to wander freely outdoors, there are also many opportunities for discovery and learning just outside your front door or window. Creating a Nature Journal with your family can be a creative way to build observation and discovery skills among your children and students during this time closer to home.
Many notable scientists and naturalists whose names adorn several Finn Hill elementary schools such as Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others were known for keeping nature journals of their observations and discoveries. Helping your child tune into and record some of what they see can help them build science observation skills and identities as scientists.
Any small notebook can serve as a beginning Nature Journal. Ask your kids to gather up their eyes, ears, their journal, a pencil and perhaps a camera phone and step outside your front door. As a start, ask what can they see, hear or smell? Next, ask them to identify several things that interest them. These may be new leaves, buds, blossoms, or bird songs in the air. Pose prompting questions to deepen inquiry such as asking what about your kid’s discoveries interests them? Have your children record the day, time, general weather and their observations in their Nature Journal. Try to build a practice of getting outside, observing nature and making an entry into your Nature Journal daily. Some helpful resources:
- You may wish to visit INaturalist, https://www.inaturalist.org and download the INaturalist App to your phone to help identify unknown plants.
- For teachers, Project Learning Tree’s Nature Journaling Activity expands on these ideas and offers numerous resources for learning extensions. https://www.plt.org/educator-tips/nature-journaling-ideas
- NatureCollections mobile app: https://naturecollectionsapp.ischool.uw.edu/
- Washington State Native Plant Image Gallery – WTU Burke Herbarium https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/keys.php
Banner image: Camp Roots students exploring Saint Edward State Park. Photo by Tess Golden-Orr with Driftwood Studios, courtesy of Camp Roots.