There are moments when I spot a young animal and while observing the way they behave or something the parent does, it reminds me of a moment with my own children. When we take the time to observe nature we can find so many similarities to our own lives and sometimes it can trigger a memory or lend us some wisdom.
Through nature play children make personal and emotional connections to the outside environment. Recently I watched a child catch a frog for the first time. That child’s face lit up with happiness and it was a beautiful moment to witness. Though she may not remember that exact moment 20 years down the road (or maybe she will) that experience left her with a positive emotion and a positive experience in nature that she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
Many of us who love the outdoors are familiar with the multitude of benefits that nature provides. A sense of wonder for the world is something that brings us together, helps us make valuable connections, and is one of the main reasons I became an educator here at Baltimore Woods. This inspired awe, for me, is rooted deeply in my childhood. Playing outside, climbing trees, flipping over rocks, and chasing fireflies were all parts of growing up that have instilled a deep respect for nature within me.
As summer is beginning, it’s an exciting time to keep an eye out for insect pollinators. Busy bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, ants, and more are all crucial helpers in the process of pollination, fertilizing plants and allowing them to create seeds. Many of the fruits and vegetables that you eat wouldn’t exist without our pollinator friends. As insects visit flowers to feed, pollen sticks to them and is then transferred to other flowers. For example, have you ever seen a fuzzy bumblebee covered in yellow dust? That’s pollen!
Summer has always been my favorite season. There is so much to see and explore! Every year as my children grow I have the amazing opportunity to experience the joys of summer through their eyes and there’s no better sensory adventure than exploring the world of bugs at night.
As I was having lunch by the pond yesterday, I felt a prickle on my arm. I looked down, and there was a mosquito having lunch with me...only my blood was the lunch! Irritated, I waved my pesky, uninvited guest away. But then I started to wonder about these little flying insects. Many of us hate mosquitoes because of their itchy bites, high-pitched buzzing, and infamous ability to transmit deadly disease. How much do we really know about the lives of these little creatures?
Of the 10 trails at Baltimore Woods, the Valley Trail has long been my favorite. This steep, lush trail descends into the heart of the preserve, providing an immersive sensory experience with stop-in-your-tracks views across the forest, ancient mossy maples, and two bridges over the clear brook.
Many trails at Baltimore Woods feel like they’ve always existed. A log here or a bridge there, a path through the woods seems simple in its creation. As appealing as the thought is, it is far from the truth.
Over the past few weeks I have been dipping a net into Phillips Pond in search of creatures to show to 5th graders in the Syracuse City School District. Their virtual field trip to Baltimore Woods introduces them to the different ecosystems we have and the animals and plants that inhabit them.