This might be a great time to start recording all the changes you are noticing in the outdoor world around you and your classroom. Great time to take a picture to compare to a picture in Feburary.
Black Bears seem to be in dens(no sitings)
Deer Rut is almost done
Ducks and geese are still migrating
Sand hill cranes are still around but less active
Birds are almost frantic at the feeders
Pheasants are heading for the cattails for the winter
Little brown bats are still migrating but number if sughtings are low
Finally this is a great time to mark buckthorn as the leaves are still holding on so it is very easy to identify.
This Wisconsin Company is offering a snowshoe fitness program to school. Getting children outside in winter can be a challenge but not if snoeshoes are available, be it the use of equipment or just the idea of moving on top of the snow I can not tell you but children love to snowshoe.
REDFEATHER SNOWSHOE SCHOOL FITNESS PROGRAM
Let's Work Together This Winter To Get Kids Moving.
kids moving in the winter is one of the nation's biggest challenges.
With the rising rates of childhood obesity and so many technological
distractions, the health of our school-age children is a national
We at Redfeather feel strongly that
snowshoeing is one of the answers to this issue of getting our children
moving in the winter. As the saying goes, "If you can walk, you can
snowshoe." There is no special talent required. So we've created the Redfeather Snowshoe School Fitness Program
(available free to schools who use our Redfeather School Program) to
help kids become "Light As A Redfeather". This Snowshoe Curriculum has
been designed to accompany our Redfeather School Program snowshoes to
provide educators in grades K - 12 with lesson plans, goals,
terminology, history, games, special activities, and much more.
Consider these facts:
* Snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing
winter sports in America and in Europe, with participation up 43% in
just three years' time.
* Walking, running or simply playing while
wearing snowshoes burns 45% more calories than these same activities
without wearing snowshoes.
* Anybody can snowshoe. If you can put one foot in front of the other, you can do this.
* Redfeather's "easy on, easy off" binding will get kids snowshoeing in no time, no problem.
* There is no equipment maintenance and snowshoes are easily stored.
* Snowshoeing has been proven to be an
excellent cross training platform for track, cross country, soccer,
football, and other sports. Studies at major universities have concluded
that athletes who have trained in snowshoes have benefitted from a much
greater aerobic capacity than those who performed the same activities
but did not use snowshoes.
(CLICK CHART FOR PRINTABLE VERSION)
Redfeather provides substantial discounts of up to
50% and special pricing on an assortment of snowshoes just for schools.
We provide not only the snowshoes, but a tote/storage bag for each pair
of snowshoes ordered through our school program.
970000 Youth 20 V-Tails: Feature a user friendly design for easy entry and exit that stay flexible and secure.
9700092 Youth 22 V-Tails:Feature the Redfeather Summit Binding with the rugged "Stand Up" design for easy entry and exit.
970004 - 970010 Western Roundtails:
Feature the Redfeather Summit Binding with the rugged "Stand Up" design
for easy entry and exit. Three straps secure your foot tightly without
pinch points, fully molded sides for increased lateral support
accommodates as wide range of shoe sizes. Special UV resistant material
maintains a soft feel even in subzero temperatures.
Live Action Hinge: The Live Action Hinge lifts the tail of the shoe with each step for added mobility and speed.
Frames: 6000 Series Aircraft Grade Aluminum.
Crampon: Western Roundtails:
Sure Grip powder coated steel crampon/talon system which bite securely
into hard pack or ice crusted snow. Powder-coated to shed snow and ice.
Youth Crampon: Heavy duty aluminum crampon system.
Decking: Rip Stop Vinyl- Superior puncture and abrasion resistance that stays soft in sub zero temperatures.
RedFeather Snowshoes 2700 Commerce St, La Crosse, WI 54603 1.800.525.0081
13 Tips to Get Your Kids Involved in the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count starts today and runs through February 16,
2015. It's a great activity for kids, especially for those who live in
the northern climes, when the temps are low and the winds do blow. It's
easy, fun and only takes 15 minutes of your time each day.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Soc
launched the Great Backyard Bird Count back in 1998. It was the first
opportunity for citizens to collect data on wild birds and post it
online. The uber cool thing is that results are displayed in near
More than 100,000 people from across the globe have joined the count
each February. It's important to bird conservation because it creates an
annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. Having this
data helps scientists understand the status of bird populations and
develop conservation plans based on their needs and distribution.
Your kids can play a role in real scientific research. Here's how to participate:
- Go to the Great Backyard Bird Count page and register.
- Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or all of the days. You
can count in the same location or anywhere else you happen to be.
- Keep your lists tallied by species (i.e. - Cardinal, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, etc.)
- Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit
Observations” on the home page. Or download the free GBBC BirdLog app to
enter data on a mobile device.
- Download any of the helpful documents such as instructions, online bird guides, and helpful videos.
- Go to the online world map via the GBBC landing page and watch near real-time submissions.
- Read the results from previous year that are downloadable from the landing page.
- Print out the participation certificate available on the Website and have your kids fill it out.
- Encourage them to enter the photo contest. They can also view photos of past winners.
- Participate in local events if in your area. The list is available on the site.
- Choose one species and spend time learning more about it.
- Draw pictures or write stories and poems about the bird.
- Go outside and refill the bird feeders when you finish counting.
Birds depend on a specific food source all winter. Don't let them down.
Join thousands of people world-wide and encourage your kids to "Count for the Birds!"
Looking for a last minute Christmas gift consider this wonderful book written for younger children it has a message to all.
What Forest Know by George Ella Lyon illustrated by August Hall
Hope you enjoy, it made my day.
Here is a challenge that may be of benefit for many students and to help you encorage students to communitcate all the great things you are doing in your classrooms!
the next generation of innovators at the forefront of scientific discovery has
been a goal of The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition for the past 29
years. The DuPont Challenge encourages students to develop a better
understanding and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and
mathematics) by researching and writing an informative essay offering solutions
to today’s challenges regarding food, energy, protection and innovation, or a
story on a science discovery.
year’s competition has expanded to include all students in
grades K-12 from across the United States, Canada and U.S. Territories.,
including children of DuPont employees.
Division (grades K-5) asks teachers to help their students explore STEM
topics in a classroom-based challenge. Together, the teachers and students will
show their imagination and originality by writing a science story about what
they discovered. Submissions are accepted from Nov. 1, 2014, to March 1,
students in the Junior and Senior Divisions (grades 6-12) may submit
a 700–1,000-word essay, from Nov. 15, 2014, to Jan. 31, 2015, addressing
one of the following four categories: Together…feeding the world, building a
secure energy future, protecting people and the environment, or innovation anywhere.
information including official rules, entry forms and award details about the
Elementary Division, please visit thechallenge.dupont.com/elementary
and for the Junior and Senior Divisions, please visit thechallenge.dupont.com/essay.
Let’s Talk Turkey About Our Favorite Bird
Posted on Saturday, November 22,
2014 by eNature
It’s almost Thanksgiving and many of us are thinking about our annual feast and
the turkey that’s often at the center of it.
But how much do you know about the
creature that many folks think is our REAL national bird?
Turkeys are interesting birds—
they’re large, colorful and hard to miss when they’re in a demonstrative
mood. Many researchers have devoted
their entire career to studying them and their complex social structure.
Bird For All Americans
As recently as a generation ago,
folks rarely encountered Wild Turkeys.
Hunting pressure had eliminated them from much of their original
range. But extensive reintroduction
efforts brought the turkey back from the brink and just about every state in
the continental US now has populations of wild turkeys, some in the tens of
Wattles and Beards
So what exactly is a turkey’s
snood? Male, or tom, turkeys have a
number of features that experts believe are intended to attract female turkeys
(hens). These include the familiar
fleshy red wattles on its neck and throat as well as a fleshy mass over their
beak known as a snood. As turkeys are
polygamous and happy to mate with as many hens as they can attract, it seems
reasonable to conclude that a more spectacular wattle and snood will result in
more breeding success.
A tom’s plumage follows the same
principles. Bright colors and unique
features rule the day. His feathers have
areas of green, copper, bronze, red, purple, and gold iridescence. Most males also have a beard; in reality a
group of specialized feathers growing from the center of his breast. The photo to the above clearly shows many of
the tom’s irresistible (to hens at least) qualities.
Males attract hens by a behavior
known as “strutting”, in which they display for females by puffing out their
feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings. Gobbling, drumming or booming and spitting as
signs of social dominance are also techniques toms use to attract females.
Sounds a bit like high-schoolers at
a Friday night football game!
Wildlife managers estimate that the
entire population of Wild Turkeys in the United States was as low as 30,000 in
the early 20th century. By the 1930s, they were almost totally extirpated from
Canada and found only in remote pockets within the US. Populations have rebounded spectacularly
since programs across the country were put in place to protect and encourage
the breeding of surviving wild populations.
The rebound has reached the point where hunting has been legalized in in
the lower 48 states and current estimates place the entire Wild Turkey
population at over 7 million.
Turkey or Bald Eagle?
A rather interesting bit of American
history, is in the early days of the republic, Benjamin Franklin strongly
objected to the choice of the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, preferring the
Franklin thought the Bald Eagle’s
habit of stealing prey caught by other birds, particularly ospreys, an inappropriate
quality and wrote, “For the Truth the
Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true
original Native of America”.
We tend to agree with Ben— the
turkey, a uniquely North American bird, is an American original and worthy of
- See more at:
Great Read: All about turkeys by Jim Arnosky
Recorded Turkey Sounds
Try taking the students for a walk in the woods to find items to make arrays with.
This group from Discovery School in Columbus were very found of acorns, though sticks, boot prints, berries,
stones, mushrooms, and many other items were tried with mixed success.
Great way to blend math and the outdoors.
Make sure they write the mathmatical sentence that goes with it, as they work.
The World of the Whitetail is a new set of teaching
trunks filled with activities that are targeted for students in the
6th-8th grade. Twenty-four different hands-on activities explore
subjects such as biology, ecology, wildlife management, social studies,
history, math, reading, and creative writing. The activities in the
trunks were developed by Beth Mittermaier and John Cler, experienced
educators at the middle school level, with input from DNR Wildlife
Get your class thinking about the white-tailed deer, Wisconsin's most popular wild animal. Try out this new "Deer Talk" activity
before you check out the trunks. Or, view the "Checking Out the
Options" activity below, which is part of the trunk. Students can also
read about Wisconsin's state wildlife animal on EEK!
Whitetails Unlimited is a national non-profit grass
roots conservation organization supporting educational programs, habitat
conservation, and preservation of the hunting tradition. They
contributed substantial funds to create twenty sets of trunks from the
original proto-type that DNR developed.
Teachers may check out the trunks thorough any one of
Wisconsin's 12 Cooperative Education Service Agencies or at six DNR
offices listed below the activity. Typically, teachers check out the
trunks for two weeks, the first week to review the contents of the
trunks and the second week to conduct the activities.
Activity: Checking Out the Options
Wisconsin Model Academic Standards:
C.8.9: Evaluate, explain, and defend their investigations
F.8.8: Investigate interdependence in populations and ecosystems
C.8.1: Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas
C.8.2: Listen to and comprehend oral communications
C.8.3: Participate effectively in discussion
Where can I get a trunk? Here's who to contact. Click on the name to send an e-mail (not all contacts have e-mail):
Cooperative Education Serivce Agencies (CESA) Contact information:
If a trunk is not available through your local CESA, contact the nearest DNR office to borrow a trunk.
- CESA #1 Pewaukee, Amanda Nick (262) 787-9500, ext. 9538
- CESA #2 Milton, Connie Isackson (608) 758-6232,ext. 339
- CESA #3 Fennimore, Jenni Pink (608) 822-3276, ext. 239
- CESA #4 West Salem, Mary Devine (608) 786-4800
- CESA #5 Portage, Janet Gaber (608) 742-8814, ext. 277
- CESA #6 Oshkosh, Sarah Loughrin (920) 424-3418
- CESA #8 Gillette, Lynda Zeitler (800) 831-6391 ext. 266.
- CESA #9 Instructional Media Center, Liisa Eyerly (715) 682-2363, ext. 168
- CESA #10 Chippewa Falls, Instructional Media Center (715) 720-2069
- CESA #11 Turtle Lake, Mary Matusewic (715) 986-2020, ext. 2165
- CESA #12 Instructional Media Center, Liisa Eyerly (715) 682-2363, ext. 168
DNR Offices with Deer Boxes
(Sturgeon Bay), Peter Gerl (920) 743-6777
This information is from the EEK (Wisconsin DNR) web site.
fall warblers have passed—but there's still plenty of great bird watching to be
done in November. Chances are, a weedy field near you is hosting throngs of
beautiful sparrows; ponds are coming alive with migrating waterfowl; mudflats
are like magnets for shorebirds; and raptors are passing overhead.
Weedy Fields for Sparrows
Overgrown pastures, abandoned lots, fields gone fallow—all are havens
for the next big wave of migrants to arrive after warblers: sparrows.
Looking for sparrows along grassy trails cut in fields can be fun
because your birds will flush as you walk and hopefully land on a branch
just ahead of you in clear view. Keep an eye out for White-throated
Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and American Tree
Sparrows all over.
Mudflats and Marshes for Dabbling Ducks
Late fall is to ducks what September is to warblers—prime migration
time. Dabblers are ducks that skim the surface of the water for seeds,
aquatic vegetation, and invertebrates, so look for them in shallower
waters. This group includes some handsome ducks: the Green-winged Teal
with its iridescent green face mask, the Northern Pintail with its
elegant tail plume, and the dashing Wood Duck. Females and young of
these species tend to migrate earlier and move farther south, while
males only move when the cold weather hits.
Bigger Lakes and Reservoirs for Diving Ducks
Divers are ducks that plunge underwater and paddle with their large feet
to reach mollusks, invertebrates, fish, and submerged aquatic
vegetation. Accordingly, diving ducks such as Common Goldeneyes and
Common Mergansers favor deeper waters. The gales of November bring a
bluebill wind out of the North, as rafts of Lesser and Greater Scaup
sweep out of Canada. Hardy divers are pushed south by Old Man Winter;
they migrate as their northern waters freeze over.
Need Some Help Finding Nearby Hotspots?
eBird contains a Google Maps-like tool for timely birding. Just visit ebird's Hotspot Explorer,
enter your location, and you’ll find a map with pinpoints of hot
birding locations. You can narrow the results by date, too, if you like.
Click through the pinpoints to see up-to-date lists of what local
birders are seeing at these locations right now. Here’s more on how to use Hotspot Explorer.