Nature Notes from Common Ground

Week of November 9, 2020


Weekly Nature Note

What's happening in nature this week?


This past week, we’ve all been adjusting to the end of daylight savings time. Kids Unplugged, our afternoon program, runs until 5:30, so it is starting to get dark while we’re still enjoying our time outside! This week, while meeting in a circle as darkness set in, we were treated to the dancing flight of bats swooping above us!

The weather last week was quite warm and sunny. The bats we saw were probably out hunting insects still flying in the warmer temperatures. It won’t always be this warm, though, which got us wondering about what bats do in the winter.

In Connecticut there are 9 species of bats - some live in caves and some live in trees. The most common bats in CT are the little brown bat and the big brown bat, both considered cave bats. While these bats often roost in homes and barns during the warmer months (and sometimes even all year round), around this time of year they move to caves, where conditions are just right for them to hibernate. Their bodies cool down and their metabolism slows, allowing them to go without food for the cold months of winter.

Unlike cave bats, which hibernate in large groups, tree-roosting bats are more solitary, and will migrate much further to warmer locations where they will also hibernate.

For more information about bats, check out this page.

Big picture


Nature activity of the week

Nature collage!

If your kids are anything like mine, they enjoy collecting things. This activity is all about collecting - and then creating a piece of art. It also can be as simple or as complex as you like. You can make a nature collage at any time of year, but I especially love including colorful fall leaves right now!

  1. Take a basket, or a bucket, or a bag, and head out on a walk in the woods or in your neighborhood. As you walk along, collect things that catch your eye - a stick, a pebble, a pretty leaf, whatever.

  2. At the end of your walk, spread your collection out on a table. First, enjoy it! Reflect on why you picked up each item.

  3. Then, grab some construction paper and some glue, and get to work, creating a collage! Some people like to water the glue down a bit and use a paintbrush. I’ve also heard of using contact paper - tape the non-sticky side down, remove the paper backing, and you can just stick your materials straight to the paper!



Between COVID, a drawn-out election, shifting school and work schedules, and life in general, many people have been experiencing anxiety lately. The Resilient Educator offers some tips for using Social and Emotional Learning strategies to reduce anxiety - this article focuses on back-to-school anxiety, but really is relevant year-round. Another approach that usually works for me is to take a walk in nature - yet another reason to get outside!


Hike of the Week

Camp Columbia and Mount Tom

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

Click here to visit not one but TWO towers!


Weekly Videos

Identifying Maple Trees



Fall Produce from Common Ground

Common Ground has November Farm Veggie Bags, Cafe Rebelde Coffee, or Honey. Here is the link! to pre-order for Pick Up for the next 3 weeks

Here are the Details: *fill out the form by WEDNESDAY to pick up Thursday or Friday.


**VEGGIES (Bags $15) In season, chemical free, veggies from the CG Farm. These shares are a bit smaller than the rest of the season. Spinach, sweet potatoes, eggs & more!

**CG HONEY is $8 a jar

**COFFEE is 12oz for $14.00 A local family-owned social enterprise dedicated to land + food justice through Fair Trade specialty coffee, which supports small farmers and local cooperatives in Mexico, Central and South America who are growing coffee sustainably. Their coffee also supports partner organizations who are dedicated to justice in their communities. (Founded by CG friend Carissa Vega!)

We will CONFIRM your order via email. Pick Up at CG Thursdays and Fridays 3:00-5:00 pm.

Common Ground High School Open House

Thinking about high school options for your child?

Come find out about Common Ground: a unique, college-preparatory high school with an environmental justice mission. This Saturday, November 14 is our first open house of the fall! Visit the campus and find out what we’re all about!

  • A Public Charter High School open to students from New Haven & all Connecticut towns

  • More than a school: An inclusive community of 225 students, dedicated to the environment and social justice

  • A challenging, interdisciplinary core curriculum that gets students ready for college and careers, leadership and life

  • Students find their paths through after-school programs, paid green jobs, dual enrollment, internships & unique courses

  • Located on 20-acre campus at the base of West Rock -- a farm, in a forest, in a city

To schedule a visit (virtual or in-person) contact Sharyn Lopez:

To receive information on visiting virtually, please submit an application on our website


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.

Some of the funding we rely on to keep Nature Notes free comes from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and The Claire C. Bennitt Watershed Fund, established by the South Central CT Regional Water Authority.