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November 24

78-Sandhill cranes.jpg

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. 

February 18

​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.


Let's Work Together This Winter To Get Kids Moving.

Getting 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 concern.

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.


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.

Redfeather Snbowshoes School Fitness ProgramRedfeather Snowshoes School Fitness ProgramFinally, we also include our "Light As A Redfeather" written snowshoe curriculum for physical education instructors and teachers to use to make snowshoeing a fun, active, and creative activity for every child involved.

Please contact us for a printable version of our School Order Form,

For a printable version of our School Program information, please click here.

To find out more, please contact us, toll free, at 800-525-0081.


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
Here is a generic snowshoe unit plan: Snowshoeing

February 13
GBBC -Great Backyard Bird Count

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 Society together 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 real-time.
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:
  1. Go to the Great Backyard Bird Count page and register.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep your lists tallied by species (i.e. - Cardinal, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, etc.)
  4. 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. 
  5. Download any of the helpful documents such as instructions, online bird guides, and helpful videos.
  6. Go to the online world map via the GBBC landing page and watch near real-time submissions.
  7. Read the results from previous year that are downloadable from the landing page.
  8. Print out the participation certificate available on the Website and have your kids fill it out.
  9. Encourage them to enter the photo contest. They can also view photos of past winners.
  10. Participate in local events if in your area. The list is available on the site.
  11. Choose one species and spend time learning more about it.
  12. Draw pictures or write stories and poems about the bird.
  13. 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!"

December 23
What Forest Knows

​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

what forest knows

Hope you enjoy, it made my day.

December 01
The 2015 DuPont Challenge Competition

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!

            Dupont Challenge.png

Inspiring 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.


This 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.


The Elementary 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, 2015.


All 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.

For more information including official rules, entry forms and award details about the Elementary Division, please visit and for the Junior and Senior Divisions, please visit

November 27
​Can You Tell A Snood From A Wattle?

 Let’s Talk Turkey About Our Favorite Bird

Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2014 by eNature

Turkey Snood.jpgTurkey strutting.jpg
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.


A 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 thousands. 


Snoods, 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.


Strutting Their Stuff

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!


Overcoming Adversity

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.


Wild 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 Wild Turkey.


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 our respect.



- See more at:

Great Read: All about turkeys by Jim Arnosky

Recorded Turkey Sounds​

November 24
Teaching multiplcation?

     Try taking the students for a walk in the woods to find items to make arrays with.                        natural_materials.jpg
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.
acorn array.jpgboot array.jpg
acorn array2.jpg


November 19
Teachers - White-tail Deer Educational trunks available statewide!

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 Biologists.

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

Language Arts:
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.

DNR Offices with Deer Boxes

Whitetails Unlimited
(Sturgeon Bay), Peter Gerl (920) 743-6777

This information is from the EEK (Wisconsin DNR)  web site.

November 06
November Offers Plenty of Birds

Green-winged Teal PhotoGreen-winged Teal

The confusing 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.

October 20
Buttons to Boone
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 About this blog

This blog is designed to connect outdoor happenings to your curriculum