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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:18 PM   #1
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Default Nature Watching at Schoolyards

This time of year I am blessed to get to spend much time at our area schools, sharing nature discovery with enthusiastic young nature watchers. Of course I can't spend time photographing what the children are discovering - must give the children all the time and attention. But sometimes there's a few minutes between classes to take some snapshots of what they have found (and what has not yet been scared away!) So here are a few random samples...

One nearby school has a great little stream - full of damselflies this time of year. Here are some male and female Blue Fronted Dancers...
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:21 PM   #2
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And here are a male and female American Rubyspot, and a Swamp Spreadwing...
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:24 PM   #3
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Another group of young'uns found a Dragon Hunter who let us get VERY CLOSE, and a Fawn Darner who didn't...
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:25 PM   #4
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Schoolchildren also love scaring themselves a little by seeing how close they can get to these big old Robber Flies.
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:27 PM   #5
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Sharp eyed children really enjoy spotting things that this old Park Ranger can hardly see - like this tiny spider called Cesonia bilineata.
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:30 PM   #6
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They also enjoy spotting some of the bigger arachnids - like these Golden Garden Spiders (male and female).
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:32 PM   #7
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Of course, nearly all children enjoy caterpillar watching. One observant group of very young students found nearly a dozen of these rather young Monarch caterpillars on one milkweed plant!
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:35 PM   #8
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We rarely see any mammals when out nature-watching with children - young'uns are too frisky and mammals too shy. But we often get to observe and discover the slower "critters," like reptiles and amphibians. Here's a Red Eared Slider at a lake near one school...
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:39 PM   #9
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And here's a VERY TINY frog found by a third grader at another school. This very young Upland Chorus Frog was about 1/2 inch long - and the young "critter hunter" who spotted it was (deservedly) proud of her wildlife-watching talents!
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Old Sep 11, 2011, 7:43 PM   #10
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Am looking forward to many more days afield with young naturalists in our region. It's a great way to see the world through their fresh, enthusiastic eyes, and to encourage them to want to protect what they have enjoyed.
Sure hope you enjoyed seeing a few samples of their discoveries. Thanks for any comments, critique & suggestions!
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