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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Nature Study When Quarantined















above are a few opportunities for indoor nature study.


 Many places are lifting restrictions. Some are still locked down. Theses ideas are adaptable to other conditions- when weather prevents much outdoors time, apartment living, illness in the family, etc.


First remind yourself of the purpose and methods of nature study.

The purpose is knowing their immediate world and the method is personal observation.


"Nature-study not only educates, but it educates nature-ward; and nature is ever our companion, whether we will or no. Even though we are determined to shut ourselves in an office, nature sends her messengers. The light, the dark, the moon, the cloud, the rain, the wind, the falling leaf, the fly, the bouquet, the bird, the cockroach they are all ours.

If one is to be happy, he must be in sympathy with common things. He must
live in harmony with his environment.  One cannot be happy yonder nor to-
morrow: he is happy here and now, or never. Our stock of knowledge of common things should be great. Few of us can travel. We must know the things at home."

From: "THE NATURE-STUDY IDEA,”

By L. H. BAILEY, printed in Comstock’s Nature Study Guide

Study and observe the insects you find in your home or yard.

Study and observe your weeds and houseplants. Grow some if you haven't already. Sketch them regularly. Note growth patterns, shape and textures, find out as much as possible from first hand observation. Even failures have value.

What is in your kitchen? Look at your fruits and vegetables. Note seed patterns. Try to grow leafy green tips from root vegetables. Try planting seeds from peppers and beans. Sprout lentils and sunflowers. Grow sweet potato vines. Try to  grow a plant from an avocado.
Sketch and observe in as much detail as possible. Notice patterns, differences and similarities. I grew a turnip top to flowering stage this winter and remembered they are in the mustard family because of the flowers.
I picked a stem of basil and the shape of the stem reminded me it is in the mint family.

Observe pets and any animals in your neighbourhood-  what do you notice about the feet? Tails? Ears?  Ask open ended questions like this. Ask questions like, 'what does the rooster's beak look like? How many times does it have? What does a pigeon beak look like? What does the moth antennae look like? What does it remind you of?

Set out food to attract... Birds, frogs (the bullfrogs in the Philippines loved our dog's food bowl), butterflies....

Have a fishbowl and observe your fish. Raise a garden snail.

Learn about clouds, stars, the stages of the moon. Sketch the moon every Monday night. Sketch the clouds every Thursday morning.
Note temperatures and weather daily.

Set a brick in a pot of dirt near your door and periodically lift it up to see what is beneath it.

Buy and dissect some fish,  seafood, or a chicken. 

Look around your house and see what you are taking for granted.