In the month of April we celebrate Earth Day! This is a holiday designed for going outdoors, exploring, and looking at all the beauty of nature. One way we learn about nature and the plants and animals living there is to keep a Nature Journal. It’s easy and fun to do. Any notebook will do, and you can start at any time of the year. Just take your notebook and go outside - even if you only go to your own backyard. Write the date on a page, and then look around. What animals do you see? (Or maybe you see signs an animal was there - like tracks on the ground, an empty bird feeder, or even a tipped over trash can!) Notice what plants are blooming, and maybe press a leaf in the pages of the notebook, so you can look it up later and identify the tree.
Now that it is spring it is fun to see whose crocuses come up first - and maybe think about why. (My neighbor’s crocuses are near the foundation of their house and in full sun - so the ground there warms up fast, and they always have the earliest blooms.) Have you seen your first robin yet? They are an early sign that spring is here. Maybe as you walk along wet areas, you’ll see some fiddleheads popping up. Whatever you see, write it down, and describe the surroundings. Then throughout the year you can watch to see how the seasons change.
Some of the biggest discoveries about the health of the environment have been made by people just like you, who went out and looked and kept a journal. Have fun exploring, and try using the track guide and bark signs attached below.