It is amazing how much more I can observe when I am taking a walk or riding a bike - rather than driving around in my car. I immediately have what I will call a sixth sense “the power of observation.” My eyes and ears help me soak in all that is around me. I can search for things, spotting the tiniest grasshopper or colorful flower.
I recently took a walk in the park with my children and found my inner child shining brightly. I was so excited about nature! I am a nature nerd - so maybe this isn't so hard for me......Regardless, we had such a fun time looking and listening to the natural world around us.
My kids can easily spot the large yellow arches of their favorite fast food restaurant. I find this amazing - no matter where we are, they always seem to find one. On our walk, I was pleasantly surprised that they could use their "observation superpowers" to spot new and interesting natural landscape features too!
We found jewelweed growing along the path. This plant is also called touch-me-not because when you touch the seed pods they burst open. Also known for medicinal purposes - the stem and leaves are said to relieve itching from poison ivy and bug bites.
My son spotted a blue swallowtail butterfly that seemed to be observing us as we walked down the path. Following us for quite sometime...never letting us get too close.
My daughter spotted the spiky seed balls of the sweet gum tree. Did you know that goldfinches and other birds love to eat the seeds?
We found lots of wingstem - a tall plant with beautiful yellow flowers (although most of the plants had yet to bloom) and ironweed - a tall plant with pretty purple flowers.
At the pond, we spotted pickerel weed. This plant has arrowhead shaped leaves and beautiful purple flowers and is often found along the edges of ponds.
I think we spotted about 5 different types of dragonflies and damselflies. Do you know the difference? Damselfies fold their wings while dragonflies leave them spread apart. A few of the interesting ones we found were the halloween pennant and widow skimmer.
Just by opening up our eyes and using our observation skills we were able to see the living things around us. I challenge you to hone your "observation superpowers" too! Find one new living thing outside this week. Enjoy!
Blog Author: Carla Regener, Program Manager, Natural Resources