Monday, December 17, 2007

Kleb Woods Nature Preserve

Well, we're already in Kansas for the start of our Christmas time with our family. We got her last night and Alexandra got to play in a few inches of snow, which is a rare treat. We will continue to do school this week since we missed a week and a half while on our trip to Hawaii and then "recovering" - unpacking, laundry, jet lag, etc. I'll continue to post from here, but I'm unsure as to whether or not I'll be able to post any photos.

On Friday, our group went on its monthly Nature Day to a place called Kleb Nature Preserve. This was a home of a German farmer, Elmer Kleb, who died in 1996 at the age of 92. We had to wonderful leaders, and I thought I'd just copy and paste the "article" I posted to our group about the trip:

We really had a wonderful time at the Kleb Nature Day Friday. In fact, it was one of the best Nature Days I've attended!

Fred Collins was a great nature guide. We went on a short (in distance) 1 hour walk with him. He was surprised at how little ground we were covering, but we were making so many finds! And, he was so good at letting us take the lead.

He started the afternoon by having the kids fill out a paper listing the current conditions - time, temperature, cloud cover, etc. Then, we went on our walk looking for biodiversity. We were recording each species we saw - whether plant or animal (mainly insects and spiders) - and then we were to count them and compare that count to another count. (We were planning on doing a second walk that day, but the day became long. So, those who went can either do their backyard or some other place to make comparisons. )

We started out mainly noticing plants - trees, weeds, mushrooms. Besides the mushrooms, he knew all of them and could even tell us stories about a lot of them! For example, he told us about Yaupon holly, alix vomitoria. This plant was "discovered" by Ponce de Leon when he went to an Indian ritual. They were brewing this plant into a tea and drinking many cups of it until they were vomiting. According to Wikipedia, it wasn't the tea itself causing the vomiting, but either the large quantities they were drinking or it was a learned behavior. Anyway, that's how the plant got its name. He also identified Yankee Weed for us, which he says got its name because it was "good for nothing." (And, yes, I'm a Yankee.)

Then, we started noticing spiders and insects. Again, he could identify most of them. We had some great finds - daddy longlegs, a sulfur butterfly, a long legged spider who had a fly he was preparing to eat, baby millipedes, a "baby" walking stick (that kept curling its tail like it was a scorpion!), a "baby" praying mantis... Anyway, there were just LOTS of great finds!!! I think it really helped that we were walking very slowly and really searching for insects and plants that we hadn't seen yet.

After the walk, we went inside where one of the moms had printed off coloring sheets of cardinals and roadrunners. We passed around bird books so the kids could see what they looked like. And, the nature center fed us a snack of apple juice, cookies, and muffins!

Then, it was back outside to go on the tour of the homestead. Ms. Linda was another great leader and was full of fun and interesting stories and laughter! She even demonstrated some German to the kids. We got to look at a lot of the old horse-drawn farm equipment that Mr. Kleb used, and hear fascinating stories about this man.

It was a great day and I believe I'll start taking our nature walks slower and carrying a clipboard, as we did, to list all of the species we see. I think this will help us to notice more or God's fascinating creation!


Robin said...

It sounds like a great idea to go on a nature walk with a clipboard. I know Theresa's kids have nature journals, but we've never progressed that far. Maybe we could start with the clipboard idea.
I like the idea of a nice __s l o w__ walk too.

live4evermom said...

Oh cool you are in Kansas? I have two brothers in Wichita. I'm jealous you got to see snow. How neat though that you were swimming and now you are in snow. Wish I could go.

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