Thursday, September 24, 2009
There are two good reasons to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather this weekend --- Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and also National Public Lands Day. The purpose of these celebrations is to encourage families to spend time in the outdoors while learning about and caring for our national heritage at the same time.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
You hear it in the news a lot lately...the important role nature plays in the well-being of children. Intuitively, it makes sense. Running around outside, breathing fresh air, using muscles to jump and climb. But, is there actually proof that shows time in nature positively effects children and their growth and well-being?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Neighborhood Explorer Screen Shot
Visit Our Neighborhood, Then Go Outside in Yours!
Discovery is as easy as a click of the mouse. Exploring the Club-House, users can seek and identify birds by silhouette, learn about endangered and invasive species, find Sam the praying mantis, take “Lucy’s NX Challenge” and more. Just moving the mouse around the Club-House will take the user to new places. Explorers create nature reports and see their state’s Top Explorer. They earn patches as they complete projects, answer trivia questions and play games. Action projects include building bird houses, planting native plants, and adopting new habits, such as recycling and conserving water and electricity.
By earning all five patches, players can receive a free tree from the Arbor Day Foundation! After earning all five patches, participants will be directed to the Arbor Day web site, where they can provide their name and address to get a free tree with directions for planting. There are only 450 trees available, so players should get started winning patches right away!
The overall goal of the Neighorhood Explorer game is to meet the audience where they are – on the computer – and offer a “safe” place to explore nature. Then, as their comfort level grows, explorers are encouraged to go outside to explore their “real” neighborhoods.
One challenge faced by LetterPress Software was to develop a virtual Club-House that could become a real clubhouse. The hope is that nature centers, youth groups, schools, national wildlife refuges and others will use the website’s projects and activities to start their own real world Neighborhood Explorers Club.
Through its Neighborhood Explorers website and other activities of the Let’s Go Outside: Ensuring a Legacy of Conservation priority, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service creates a foundation to support Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar’s “21st Century Youth Conservation Corps”.
Check it out for yourself! Visit our Neighborhood Explorers website at http://www.fws.gov/neighborhoodexplorers. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Matt Gay, US Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I thought my readers might enjoy seeing photos I received from a friend of some beautiful cloud formations seen at Mount Rainier, which lies southeast of Seattle, Washington. From what I understand, they were so striking, people living in the Seattle area stopped in their tracks and drivers were pulling off the road to catch a glimpse.
According to NASA, they are multilayered lenticular clouds. Moist air forced to flow upward around mountain tops can create lenticular clouds. Water droplets condense from moist air cooled below the dew point, and clouds are opaque groups of water droplets. Waves in the air that would normally be seen horizontally can then be seen vertically, by the different levels where clouds form. On some days the city of Seattle is treated to an unusual sky show when lenticular clouds form near Mount Rainier.
A fun activity you can do with your children is to name the different types of clouds they see each day for a week. The evening skies during the late summer offer especially spectacular cloud formations. Encourage them to draw pictures of the clouds they saw. You can even cut them out and tape them to the ceiling of their bedrooms. Each evening you can lie in bed with them and discuss what they see above. You'll be amazed by what they come up with with their imaginations!