Mrs. Aitch's File Cabinet of Ideas for Nature Study Lessons

Monday, April 7

Six Simple Steps to Seasonal Surprises

Here's a fun and easy project to watch the seasons change in your own neighborhood.  

Take a photo from the same spot in your yard once a week (or once a month).  

1. Look for a spot in your yard where there are trees or a garden.

2. Pick a spot that shows a good view of nature and consider if the background looks nature-y, too (avoid buildings or cars if you can).  

3. On the same day (and time!) every week, stand in that spot with your camera pointed the same direction.

4. Take a picture.   See?  That was SO easy!

5. Note any changes in the trees, flowers, garden, landscape.   Weather conditions like temperature, wind, precipitation--all worth noting, too.  

6. Keep your pictures in one spot, organized chronologically (in order by date), label them, if you can, too.

Hint!   Set a reminder on your phone or calendar.   I try to take my pictures at the same time every week (10:00 a.m. Friday); plus I set a back-up reminder to go off at 2:00 p.m., too, because sometimes I'm running errands in the morning or I get busy and forget.  

Camera:  I use an iPhone but you could also use a digital or SLR camera or even an old Polaroid InstaMatic.

I started out taking pictures and didn't include our little street lamp at the end of our driveway.  But once the leaves were down, the lamp was the really only interesting thing to look at (for a long time).

Upload Options:  I upload my picts to Instagram (Click here to see!) and share from there to my personal Facebook where I have an album titled "My Street - Once a Week".   I use the same hashtags on my Instagram uploads, so I can find them easily.   Once they're loaded into my Facebook album, I edit the description again.

When we started getting snow on the ground, the lamp was kind of a cool "marker" as it really stood out against the white!  AND it had the cutest little "frosting" of snow on top, too!

You'll notice the different "frames" I've used.  That's part of the Instagram app.   I like photos with and without the frames.   If I was to do this all over again, I would probably NOT use any frames at all.   OR always use the same one every time.   Just to be consistent.   :-)
In this photo (above right) you'll notice I fuzzed out the background a bit, to make the lamp-post be the main focus.   That's another little thing in Instagram.   Kind of fun for the photos where the scenery isn't that exciting.  

Now that spring's arrived, this flower bed and the street scene is starting to wake up.   The spring ephemerals are already blooming, and some bulbs that thrive in chilly temps (snowdrop and crocus for example) are already almost done here in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.  

So, get your camera and get outside and see some nature!

Nature Hike

Take a walk outside your own home. Look around at all the signs of Spring in your own backyard! What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear? Fresh earth, budding plants and trees, birds chirping? How does the wind feel against your cheek?

Keep your nature journal handy....summer is a busy time in the natural world! Jot the occasion, date, time, weather, and anything unusual. Make a simple sketch to help you remember. Doesn't have to look like da Vinci! Just your sketch.

Take note of a special tree in your yard. Keep track of it during each season. Sketch one or two branches right now. Take note of the buds or twigs. Date the sketch, add the time of day, something about the weather. Yeah! That wasn't so hard!!