If you’ve been following us for a while you are probably familiar with our idea of Super Nature Finds. A "Super Nature Find" is what we like to call of those intimate wonders out in nature that we might have missed if we didn't take the time to slow down.
It could be almost anything in nature, really...
A spring flower bud. A mushroom.
A spider web. A honey bee.
A leaf as it starts to turn colors. The lichen on the bark of a tree.
The moss that returns on the sidewalk when the rains begin in the fall.
We use this term among ourselves to describe the content of our stickers and parts of our Field Guide content in our monthly trail packets. And every week on our Instagram account, we also like to share a follower's "super nature find" post.
We came up with this concept after revisiting Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder. In that book, Carson writes:
"Many children, perhaps because they themselves are small and closer to the ground than we, notice and delight in the small and inconspicuous. With this beginning, it is easy to share with them the beauties we usually miss because we look too hastily, seeing the whole and not its parts.”
As Carson implies, when we explore nature with our kids, they offer us an amazing gift too. Through their eyes, we can experience nature in fresh ways, and experience the joy of wonder again.
This is all to say that the concept of Super Nature Finds has never just been about the kids. It's also about sparking a bit more wonder for everyone.
Because don't we all need more wonder in our lives?
Celebrating a Year of Super Nature Finds
It's in this vein that we decided to make a new packet for the end of the year that we are calling Super Nature Finds Activity Packet.
We've been working on it for a while also making our regular monthly trail packets.
We are smitten with how it turned out because it reminds of all our favorite adventures this year.
We really wanted to create something that honors the ways that nature can continually amaze and spark wonder.
Every time we make a new packet, we get excited about the kinds of discoveries we're sharing - whether it's about spring trilliums, summer butterflies, fall fungi, or winter migratory birds.
The changing seasons are constantly inspiring us and getting us excited to getting outdoors again.
This activity packet comes with four different booklets thematically organized by season. We’ve also included two fun sticker sets highlighting some of our favorite nature finds throughout the year.
We’ve included information to reinforce learning and support curiosity, plus drawing and coloring activities, and a place in every booklet for extra note taking.
If you have been a regular subscriber with us, some of the material will look familiar, some of it new. All of it has been organized to highlight the changing seasons and the wonders of nature no matter what time of year.
Not from the Pacific Northwest? Good news! Here's what's different about this packet compared to what we typically produce every month.
It is designed to be enjoyed from wherever you live (no hiking in Portland required!).
Bonus for the holiday season - it's also just the right size for a Christmas Stocking...if you are looking for a holiday gift right now.
While they'll always be available, right now for the holiday season we are offering them at a special discount of 15% off with the checkout code: WINTER15.
If you want to order a packet to arrive in time for Christmas, our deadline is Monday, Dec 18!
Finally, as we look ahead to 2018, we wish your family many many Super Nature Finds to ignite wonder and remind us all to be joyful and curious!
Did you know that November is a special time of year for bird watching? It's the peak month for migratory waterfowl to travel through our region.
We are celebrating this seasonal phenomenon with the launch of a very special packet about migratory birds and their wetland habitats. It focuses on one of the region's best preserved waterfowl habitats: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Ridgefield, Washington.
Fall is one of the best times of the year to explore the forest for mushrooms. As the rains come, so does an array of fungi, popping up on rotting logs, among fallen leaves, and in the soil on the forest floor. Our Scouters Mountain Nature Park packet is our celebration of this fall wonder.
A few years back, I was in a career that would make me so busy in the Fall that everything seemed a blur around this time of year. October seemed to fly by, and in my anxiety to meet work deadlines, I’d instinctively treat family activities like pumpkin picking or hiking as extra chores.
I’d hike with our family in a rush, thinking it would save time. I would get impatient when my child dragged his heels out on the trails. I’d try to “squeeze in” family time between work, because I wanted to get out with my family even thought I thought I didn’t have the time to really make space for them.
Have you ever rushed through fall family adventures like this? Have you ever gotten impatient with your child when they are ambling about on the trail?
Have you ever heard the phrase “Nature Intelligence” and wondered what it means? In the simplest terms, Nature Intelligence is a phrase that is often used to refer to a keener awareness of the natural world. Another useful way of thinking of the concept is “nature smarts.”
Have you been thinking about getting outside for a family adventure? Here are five reasons Fall is a great time for family nature exploring in the Pacific Northwest!
Rain brings new life to the outdoors!
Sometimes we all get a little cranky when the rain returns in the Pacific Northwest. But remember, when the rain returns, so does so much else! Moss returns, fungi grow, and creatures awaiting cooler days come out again. This is a great time of the year to explore new growth in the forests.
While there’s a lot we still don’t know about the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia River Gorge, one thing we can say for certain is that the Gorge will look different afterwards. Fires always bring change - both the immediate kind and the kind that will take place over many many years .
This raises the question for us as parents: How we talk about this change with our kids?
First, it's helpful to remember that kids - especially kids ages 6 and under - don’t have the same sense of time as we do. The passage of years so critical to our self awareness doesn’t really click with them yet. Nor do kids have the deep well of memories that can engender strong emotions of nostalgia or loss in connection to events like the Gorge wildfire. Rather, kids naturally tend to be forward-looking because their life is still at its beginning. Their thoughts tend to be on what comes next.
While wildfires are a normal part of the dry season in the Pacific Northwest, in some years, it can start to seem like the will never come to end. The huge new Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia River Gorge makes this year an even more challenging fire season than it already has been.
For some kids, the sight and smell of smoke and ash in the air (and the air quality warnings that force them indoors) might also spark worries, frustrations, or questions. Here are some tips for parents and caregivers for talking to kids about wildfires.
I love September. I love the bursting gardens and ripe apple trees. I love the spiders dangling on their webs in the sunlight, snacking on late summer bugs. I love how enormous the wildflowers and grasses - both seeding in this time - are in that last gasp of summer. I also love the excitement of the changing seasons and possibilities of a new school year.
Sometimes, when our son is dragging his heels on a trail, we turn to games and fun activities to try to help motivate him. The kinds of games we choose depend on his specific mood (“I’m bored” is a different than, oh, say, wanting to get off the trail). If you follow what we do, you know that our sticker maps have long been one kind of activity we’ve been doing (you can read our bio to learn more about how all that started). Here are a few other favorites activities that have also worked pretty well.
Bryna R. Campbell