Nature Explorer

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Swimming Through the Cave September 14, 2014

While I have been swimming the mile at the La Jolla Cove most of my life, I had never swum through the Caves until this year. Several caves open up under the cliffs, and one is wide enough to swim through. We were surrounded by sea lions who had pulled themselves up on the rocks, including this mother and pup. The current was strong — and a little scary — but it was an exciting adventure. With water so warm this year — over 70 degrees — we can stay in the water for a long time. What we see in the water changes every day — today I saw an odd jelly fish with a blue rudder on top and, of course, sea lions everywhere.

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Tiny Sierra September 2, 2014

Filed under: Animals,Environmental Education,Everything Under the Sun,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 12:06 am

yosemite frogJust returned from another beautiful week at Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite researching my picture book biography of Ansel Adams, to be titled “Antsy Ansel”, which will be published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt publishers in 2016. Experimented with the various zoom lenses on my point-and-shoot camera and focused on the smallest, most amazing aspects of nature I could find:

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Potatoetry Reprise May 11, 2014

Filed under: Environmental Education,Gardening,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 7:08 am

Our potatoetry project was a great success. Every 2nd grader got to know a potato as a sensory object. Each child wrote a poem, and then we collected a line from each poem and formed them into a single group poem. The children wrote their lines on a painted tire, and then we planted potatoes inside the tires. Here’s a link to a blog post I did for National Poetry Month! 4

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Weed Seeds

Filed under: Inspiration — explorergarden @ 6:59 am

My garden is a mess of weeds. But this weed seed pod is the most amazing container I’ve ever seen. It’s like a tiny, perfect pot, with a lid. Under the lid are tiny holes, like the holes in a salt shaker, to shake the seeds out a little at a time whenever the stalk rattles in the wind.



Snowflake Bentley April 8, 2014

Filed under: Inspiration — explorergarden @ 6:17 am

I am no Snowflake Bentley. But isn’t snow amazing? My children and I tried to catch pictures of perfect flakes in a Sierra snowfall, and got these pictures.



Spring Storm

Filed under: Animals,Everything Under the Sun,Gratitude,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 6:10 am

When you live in a hot place, it’s wonderful to find yourself in situations in  nature that the rest of the nation deplores: a blizzard! These American Coots probably regretted coming to the Sierra early — but the 50 degree weather the week before fooled them! To us, it was an amazing experience to be blown around, freezing cold.

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Fallen Tree makes for Loose Parts Play March 13, 2014

Filed under: Environmental Education,Everything Under the Sun,Gardening,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 5:41 am

When a tree fell in the school garden, we used the opportunity to create a fort-making space. With the addition of a box of nature play materials, we have the start of a Loose Parts Play set. Children are using all the loose parts in the garden to create a world, learn social-emotional skills, and have fun! Here’s a link to further reading about loose parts play.

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Susan A. Olcott

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