Awhile ago I found out about a group called Nearby Nature. From their website: “Nearby Nature is a non-profit education organization based in Eugene, Oregon. Founded in 1992, our group is dedicated to fostering appreciation of nature nearby and providing tools for ecological living.” “Thanks to Nearby Nature, our community’s kids spent 28,000+ healthy hours outside in 2013!” Doesn’t that just make your heart sing? It does mine. Kids spending time outdoors is something that’s really important to me.
When I looked at their calendar of events, I saw they were having a Bug Safari coming up in August. Bracken is crazy about bugs and it sounded like something he would love. I marked the day down and have been literally looking forward to it for months. We headed over from market on Saturday and some of our bug-loving friends were able to join us, which made the day all the more fun for us.
Nearby Nature is such a fun place, like stepping into a wonderland of sorts. There are gardens, tunnels, little coves under trees, and all sorts of things to explore. (How fun is that bean teepee? And I think those sunflowers are the tallest I’ve ever seen!) There was a big turnout for the Bug Safari, with lots of families there. We went into the fields with bug nets in hand, to see what we could see. We caught a red-legged grasshopper, ants, a beetle, and a spider.
Did you know grasshoppers have short antennas whereas crickets have long antennas? I didn’t. And did you know that people are more likely to trip over their cat or dog and end up in the hospital than to end up there with a poisonous spider bite? (Made the group laugh, but helped put the fear of poisonous spider bites in perspective.) We admired a butterfly on a thistle that looked like it had four wings. (And now I forget the name.) There were two people knowledgeable about bugs who identified what we found when we brought the bugs over to show them. We looked at them, sometimes with magnification, and then we released them back into the field.
Afterwards we enjoyed some lunch near the duck pond, watching the ducks, geese, and also a heron. We came home knowing more about insects and also having some new garden and fun yard ideas. The bees and butterflies loved the asters growing there and I have that on the list to plant in our garden next year. Today Bracken caught a grasshopper in the garden and it had bright blue hind legs, rather than red like we saw the other day. We thought it was so cool! You just never know what sorts of interests your children will inspire you to learn about, do you?