Week of March 24, 2024 – March 30, 2024

Catherine McLaughlin, Environmental Educator at Baltimore Woods

by Catherine McLaughlin, Environmental Educator

When you visit Baltimore Woods, or even your yard, how do you interact with nature? Are you taking photos? Birdwatching? Absorbing the sunlight as it peeks through the clouds? Exercising? No matter how you use the outdoors, if you take a moment you can find something to learn more about.

For example, during a recent Trail School program, one of the parents showed me a video they recorded while at another park of a creature they spotted in the water. They asked me if I knew what it was and while I could not tell you the exact species of what they had found, I knew it was likely a dragonfly nymph. Their son eagerly described how the dragonfly nymph moved under the water: “It’s like he propels with air… it looks like a fart!” To which I chuckled with this 12-year-old boy and said “You know, it kind of does look like that, and it sort of is!”

From this small, somewhat silly interaction we connected and explored more about these interesting creatures. I think we talked about the dragonfly life cycle and some of the adaptations these macroinvertebrates have for another 20 minutes or so. Once the weather consistently stays warm we are excited to explore the Baltimore Woods pond and stream during Trail School and find more of these types of creatures with the group, creating even more of these moments.

We may have questions about nature the moment we see something, but the follow through of doing the research can help us connect to nature on a deeper level. We can continue to build upon our wonder of the world around us, if we take the time to ask questions and find answers. If you have any questions about nature, remember you can email us at [email protected] any time!