Learning Outdoors

Resources from Environmental Education - 7/30/20

The SDW Environmental Education team will be sending bi-weekly newsletters throughout the summer months. Our hope is that some of the activities will inspire your family to spend time outdoors playing, exploring and having fun! Feel free to share your adventures with us on our social media pages!

Nature Writing

We're revisiting a video by EE teacher Laureanna R. about nature journals! Creating your own nature journal out of recyclable materials is simple and fun!

After your journal is created, there are endless possibilities! You could:

- collect leaves or flowers and press them between the pages

- create your own field guide for animals and plants in your neighborhood

- choose an animal or plant near you and draw its life cycle

- create a nature craft or art project and record the steps in your journal

- draw a map of our neighborhood, community park, or backyard

- pick a spot to visit each day and write down 1-2 observations

- record items in nature that begin with every letter of the alphabet

- record the weather

We'd love it if you shared your writing creations with us either on our social media pages or via e-mail! All of our contact information can be found at the bottom of our newsletter :-)

Creating Your Own Nature Journal

Alliance for the Great Lakes

The organization Alliance for the Great Lakes is hosting garbage clean up events at local beaches! To find an event, or to host your own, check out this website.

In the video below, an organization member demonstrates a creative way to use the garbage that you might find on the beach. You could do a similar art project with any litter that you might pick up in your neighborhood! You'd want to wear gloves and sanitize everything first, of course. We'd love to see photos of your finished creations, if you're up for the challenge!

Want to learn more about the creatures that call the Great Lakes home? Check out this quiz!
Art from Trash: Making a Great Blue Heron

Nature Craft

Here's a nature themed craft you can do inside or out! And you get to use a potato!

For more great ideas of activities you can do at home or nearby, check out this great collection or ideas from Woodland Trust.

Ladybird potato stamps - spring craft for kids | Nature Detectives


Retired EE teacher Sandi N. got to witness something pretty unique in her backyard: cicadas emerging from their shells! Over the course of about 2 hours, she checked on the cicadas several times and captured photos of them at different stages of emergence.

According to the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, the most common cicada species found in Wisconsin is Tibicen canicularis. Another name for this insect is the Dogday Harvestfly. Depending on the species, cicadas can spend anywhere from 2-17 years underground as nymphs before emerging to shed their skin and become an adult. The adult cicadas live only a few weeks, just long enough to lay eggs and continue the life cycle. The most well-known feature of cicadas, their buzzing sound, is created from two drum-like organs near their abdomen. In some cultures, the buzzing is a sign that summer is slowly beginning its shift into fall.

Have you found any cicada shells in your neighborhood lately?

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TIL: Cicadas Can Damage Your Hearing | Today I Learned

Art Pages

EE teacher Sally T. has created a beautiful collection of coloring pages over the past few months. In this PDF file, you can access all of the art pages in one place!

This week, we are also including a page from the nature magazine, Ranger Rick. Here is the PDF file!

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Moving in Nature

A really fun way to move in nature is by creating your own obstacle course! In this video from the Mohonk Preserve in NY, you'll see how you can take materials from nature to design your own course.
Nature Supplied Obstacle Course | "Nature Nugget" Outdoor Activities

Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a fun, family-friendly activity to do outdoors this summer? We've got just the thing! A virtual scavenger hunt!

Here are the general guidelines:

-Stay close to home

-Take a picture and post your findings on Twitter and/or Facebook

-Tag us on Facebook (@SDWEnvironmentalEducation) or Twitter (@SDWEnvED)

-Use the hashtag #ExploreWithSDWEE

-Receive points for your findings

For more info and the list of items to search for, check out this LINK. The winner will be announced on August 25th! Happy hunting!

Science Joke of the Week

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