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Welcome to the new nature journal calendar! Today marks the beginning of a new month and a whole new set of things to observe as spring is in full swing in some areas and still emerging in others. Enjoy the month of April and print your April 2016 Nature Journal Calendar to help you record what’s going on in your own backyard and beyond.
How to Use the Nature Journal Calendar
There’s no right or wrong way to use the nature journal calendar. Here are a few tips:
- Download your printable calendar.
- Print the calendar.
- Use the prompts both on the calendar and below to explore some elements of April nature.
- Draw or write your observations in the blank calendar squares. That’s why there are so many blank spaces- so you don’t feel pressured to do a million things and so that you have room to doodle it up right on the calendar.
- Put them together in a notebook or handmade book and wait for next month and a new calendar.
- Have fun!
April Nature Connections
Here in NY, we are still working seeing spring time come alive. We are actually ahead of the game this year because our winter has been unusually warm. However, we are expecting snow in the next several days. It’s up and down around here until May. But, here are some ideas for April:
- Explore Spring Wildflowers– These flowers will bloom throughout the growing season, but it’s fun to get out and spot the first ones on the scene. If you wait until May, you’ll miss some!
- Identify Ferns– Ferns are fun to learn and identify and they are easy to remember when you see them again. As the forest comes alive again, ferns are noticeable before the rest of the underbrush is green again.
- Observe Trees Leafing Out– Though your trees may have burst forth already, do you remember which trees in your yard or neighborhood leaf out first? We have one tree which leafs out first and it’s the first to drop its leaves in August!
- Take a Woods Walk– The woods are a fun place to observe new life returning to it splendor. Taking even a short walk will leave you encouraged for the coming season.
- Notice Signs of Amphibians– My favorite thing in the spring is the sound of the spring peepers. These small tree frogs emerge and begin to make their peeping sound. Music to my ears!
- Look for Vernal Pools– I mentioned these in March, but April is an even better time to observe critters in these temporary wet places.
- Watch the Night Sky– Where is Orion this time of year in the northern hemisphere? Most of the winter it’s in the eastern sky, but now it’s in the southern sky. What other constellation changes do you see?
No need to feel limited by our ideas. If you see something you want to note, then go ahead and put it on your calendar. We just had a fabulous last weekend in March and took advantage of it to do some hiking in one of the many gorges that surround us. What is April like where you live?
Books for Nature Study in April
We love to share our most loved nature books with you. This month we’re sharing:
- Fern Finder– We love this series of dichotomous keys and this one is for the eastern U.S and eastern Canada.
- How to Know the Ferns– This is one of Rebecca’s favorites. A guide to the names, haunts, and habits of our common ferns.
- One Small Square Pond– A lovely illustrated book which will help in spotting amphibians.
- Flower Finder– A dichotomous key for wildflowers. We take this one with us all the time. This one is for east of the Rockies and north of the Smokies.
- Audubon Field Guide to Wildflowers– Another favorite with pictures and a lot of information
April Literature Connections
It’s time for a list of fun books to read while you enjoy spring. The book list includes titles for preschool through high school. Read them outside for extra fun!
- Planting a Rainbow– A great book full of flowers and color though bulbs are usually planted in the fall, this book make us wait with anticipation for a garden full of flowers.
- Miss Rumphius– The lupine lady plants lupines all over town. Ours are just coming up now!
- The Runaway Bunny– A bunny dreams of leaving home while his mom reminds him home is best.
- Make Way for Ducklings– Classic story of Mr. & Mrs. Mallard finding just the right home for their nest and the adventures that ensue after the chicks hatch.
- The Sign of the Beaver– An adventure of a boy left behind to watch the settlement home while his dad goes away for a time.
- The Wind in the Willows– The misadventures of animals provides fun storytelling for all.
- Little House on Rocky Ridge– The story of Laura and Almanzo as they leave South Dakota for Missouri and their own farm far from home.
- The Green Ember– A tale of a pair of rabbit siblings as they find their true place in the world and the adventure that awaits them.
- Little Women– The story of four sisters in 19th century Massachusetts as they come of age.
- Watership Down– More rabbit tales of adventure as warrens are threatened and they fight to survive.
- My Antonia– A story of friendship between a girl and boy on the prairie in the mid-19th century. Willa Cather is a master at describing character and you will enjoy this picture of life of pioneers.
- Ivanhoe– Set in medieval England at the time of King Richard’s crusades, the story is about a Saxon born Ivanhoe who leaves to fight with King Richard and ultimately returns to England where he is thrust into the tension between Prince John (the King’s brother) and the King as John seeks to steal the throne. There are other plot lines running at the same time and it’s a good story for those daring enough to wade through!
Speaking of medieval times, our oldest has long studied to be a falconer when he had to take a break because of Lyme. During our My Side of the Mountain class a few weeks ago, he reconnected with his mentor and had an opportunity to enjoy this sweet red tail. He can hardly wait to begin apprenticing again.
More April Fun at Blog, She Wrote
These are some posts that you might enjoy as you make April plans. Enjoy what the month brings!
Implementing a Nature Study: Watch Your Own Backyard– Tips on how to do nature study right at home.
Incorporating Nature Study into Your Academic Routine– How do you fit nature study in with everything else you are doing?by