Nature Notes from Common Ground

Week of September 21, 2020


Weekly Nature Note

What's happening in nature this week?

Jewelweed (impatiens capensis) is a native flower that blooms in the forest at Common Ground; you'll often find it in damp and slightly shady places. At this time of year, the plant is setting seeds. When the seed pods are ripe, a light touch is enough to make the seed pods "pop" and send the seeds flying. In the video below, Tim checks out the jewelweed in our Outdoor Classroom.



Nature activity of the week

Pine Cone Art

Pine cones are the “fruit” of the pine tree - there’s a seed at the base of each scale. When the pine cone opens, the seed floats out - off to plant another tree!

For this activity, head outside in your schoolyard, neighborhood, backyard, or local park. You’ll want to go somewhere where there are evergreen trees. Gather some pine cones - or spruce cones - from the ground. (Although fir trees also produce cones, they typically break apart before they fall from the tree.)

Then, use your artistic license! Paint them, glitter them, glue them together to make a sculpture, add googly eyes to create animals, build them into a scene. You could also dip your pine cone into paint and use it to stamp a neat pattern on paper. Do different types of cones make different patterns?

Need more ideas? Try here and here.


Grant Opportunity

Budding Botanist Grants

The Klorane Botanical Foundation is offering grants of $1000 to help bring garden-based learning opportunities to students. They'll even give you a package of tools and educational materials. Applications are due October 30. Click here for details.


Hike of the Week

photo credit: Rebecca Holcombe

Bluff Point State Park

Each week we will share a kid-friendly hike or other outdoor adventure.

This week, head to Groton to explore tide pools and boulders along the shore at Bluff Point State Park. Read more here.


Weekly Video

Fall pond update
Flannery finds out what's new in the pond this week!


About this series

Our programs for children at Common Ground are place based, hands on, and focus on community, friendship, and nature-based learning and play.

In this time of virtual learning and social distancing, we seek to support teachers and families in getting outside in safe and healthy ways. We hope this series provides content and activities to help your students or your family engage in nature-based learning, whether you are learning in person or virtually.