Look for hearts in nature: You might be surprised where you may see naturally occurring heart shapes – a patch of lichen, a rock, a hollow in a tree. Keep a lookout for them whenever you are out. You never know where nature hearts will reveal themselves.
Show your nature love by creating a wild-life friendly habitat. These are great projects for your own yard or a local school/community garden:
Leave some nature love notes: Linda shares a simple Valentine activity that encourages children to get out and notice nature. They will be connecting with the nature around them as they create lovely heart land art.
Bring it inside: Make some nature hearts to hang around the house.
Pine cone fairies: Spread the love with these adorable fairies. There are nice examples and tutorials here and here.
Cupid’s arrows: These arrows could also be made with leaves instead of feathers and bits of bark for the tips. Get creative with whatever natural materials are on hand.
February is National Bird-Feeding month. Show your fondness for your feathered friends by making some hanging bird treats and learning more about common backyard birds. This is a wonderful resource.
The Great Backyard Bird Count begins February 17th. Consider participating in this citizen science activity and help researchers “learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them and the environment we share”.
I hope some of these nature Valentine’s ideas spark your interest and that you’ll enjoy trying some of them out.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Last winter, after warmer temperatures had melted the top layer of snow, we noticed a network of tunnels throughout our yard. We soon realized that they were created by either mice or moles. It was a fun discovery!
A couple of months ago my husband started reading Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich to our children. He got to a section that talked about the subnivean zone and the kids realized that the tunnels we had seen were evidence of subnivean life. My husband was fascinated and suggested that I use it as one of my nature words of the month. Well, this is the perfect month. I hope you enjoy exploring the subnivean zone!
- Northern Woodlands has a great article about these shelters in the snow.
- This article by the National Wildlife Federation is very helpful and has a nice graphic.
Resources to Inspire
My family enjoys a fairly relaxed pace of living so the holiday season can often feel a little more hectic than what we are use to. I love the holidays and our additional activities are usually fun stuff but it’s still… more. Is it the same for you? This month’s ‘Nature by the Numbers’ journal prompts focus on slowing down and taking the time to quietly observe. Click the image to download a printable copy.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, cloud watching is always a fun activity and observing cloud formations is a great way to learn about weather patterns. To explore clouds a little more, here are some wonderful resources:
Sketch the clouds you observe in your nature journal. Be sure to add a description of each cloud and make a note of what the weather was like when you saw each cloud. If conditions do not invite sitting outside to do so (right now in Maine it’s 25 degrees) it can easily be done from inside. Just find a comfy spot near a window. For an additional activity you can even trace the clouds right on the window.
With the foliage gone on deciduous trees, it’s easy to see the various branching patterns. Take a close look at the trees you have chosen to observe. Do the trunks split at any point? Do the branches form deep “Y”s? Do the twigs grow alternate, opposite, or whorled? For more winter tree silhouette fun, check out these links:
We’ll be exploring how to identify winter trees in a future post where there will be lots more information and resources…
Moon Shadow Spotting
The December full moon occurred on the 6th so the moon is waning with the new moon happening on the 22nd. To see some moon shadows you had better do it soon! If it just doesn’t work out, try again in January. Mark your calendars for moon spotting on the 4th.
Image sources on printable