Nature Explorer

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Jewels After the Rain December 10, 2018

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 4:42 am

After an 8-month dry spell, and statewide fire season, the first rains are a cause to celebrate. Each drop like a jewel, making everything beautiful — even coyote scat!


10 Great Picture Books on Quietness — Waking Brain Cells November 14, 2016

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 4:29 pm

There is something powerful about quiet and silence. It’s another important thing for children to learn, that silence is not frightening but offers space to think and dream. May you find time today for your own quiet time. Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna […]

via 10 Great Picture Books on Quietness — Waking Brain Cells


Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, A Life in Nature: A (Non-Fiction) Picture Book Review September 13, 2016

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 6:01 am

Waves of Tuna Crabs July 15, 2016

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 5:33 pm

Tiny Tuna Crabs, 4 inches long,  wash ashore at La Jolla Cove in summer when the water grows especially warm. It’s a little unnerving to swim surrounded by thousands of the little red guys. But they are beautiful and funny as they whoosh backwards out of reach of my swimming arms.


#1000HandsDigIn! at KidSpace Museum, Pasadena May 7, 2016

Filed under: Environmental Education,Everything Under the Sun,Gratitude,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 6:11 am

I’ve been trying to post pictures of kids’ hands discovering in nature over the last two months. Last week I visited KidSpace Pasadena to share my new book Dig In! and my new twitter campaign #1000HandsDigIn and loved their new Arroyo exhibit. An arroyo, in case you don’t know, is a dry creek bed. A beautiful arroyo runs through Pasadena, and this exhibit is about the ecosystem of the arroyo. It meets all of children’s needs to experience nature with all of their senses. Here are photos of spaces where children can play in wet sand, mud and clay, make adobe bricks, weave with flowers, climb an eagle’s aerie and wear an eagle costume, go under a waterfall and splash in the water, build a sand-moving machine with dry sand and build a fort with sticks, hide in a nest of sticks and read a book, play music on nature’s own instruments. It was truly an amazing, inspiring and beautiful place for children to blossom and connect with nature.

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Pollinators Wanted — Apply Within! May 1, 2016

Filed under: Gardening,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 6:34 am

Finally, someone is pollinating my garden. I was a little freaked out when my sunflowers seemed to go for weeks without bees visiting. But today, the California poppies are full of bees, and this yellow-faced bumblebee paid a visit to my tomatoes. My photos aren’t great — he was a moving target —  but here is one from the Las Pilitas website — that wonderful garden treasure trove!

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Grunion Run! April 25, 2016

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 6:55 pm

Grunion Leuresthes tenuis  are now “running” on the Pacific shoreline, from Baja to Los Angeles. One of southern California’s natural treasures, grunion are unique in nature as fish that come completely out of the water to spawn in the middle of the nights after a full moon, from March to August. It’s neat to see, and scientists know precisely when they will come to shore to lay their eggs. But they just don’t know where. What shore will the grunions pick? I have made midnight runs countless times, and picked the wrong beach. But last night I got lucky! Here are some photos of what I saw at midnight under just passed full moon.

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Spring is here and Rain at Last! March 12, 2016

Early, cool spring is my favorite time of year.


Eulalie and Jumbo

Eulalie and Jumbo

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

play structure chicken coop

play structure chicken coop

Weeds Find a Way!

Weeds Find a Way!

Indian Hawthorne

Indian Hawthorne

Baby Apricots

Baby Apricots

Green yard

Green yard

IMG_0683 IMG_0685Last year, we got only a couple of inches of rain all year. This year, while El Nino has definitely not lived up to its promise in southern California, at least we are getting a real spring. The air is clean and cool, our apricot tree has blossomed already and is producing tiny fruit, the Indian Hawthorne bush is ready to explode with blossoms, weeds are finding a way, and the chickens are delighted with the growing garden.


Makers Shedding Light on the World

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 5:59 pm

My daughter’s amazing Maker teacher at High Tech Middle Media Arts led 100 7th graders through the process of designing lamps using Rhino software, prototyping and executing designs of lamps made form paper-backed wood laminate. Then they created ads and opened a shopping site on Etsy to sell their lamps. Entrepreneurs in the Making! So proud of the results for all the children. Here’s the link to the Etsy site.

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The “Dirt” on the #Kidlit Book Dig In!

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 6:13 am

Right in time for the spring gardening season and for STEM Friday, we have Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by (“dirt by”) Mary Peterson. Cindy Jenson-Elliott’s new…

Source: The “Dirt” on the #Kidlit Book Dig In!


Susan A. Olcott

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