By Melani Roewe
Spring brings wonderful little surprises peeking up at you as you venture out for a walk with children. Little shoots of pale green grasses, pointed spears of crocus and daffodil plants, and the teeniest white, pink, or blue five-petaled flowers of thrift and phlox are getting ready to emerge from their winter sleep. What an exciting season change this is!
1. A fun way to discover the changes taking place is to choose a spot in your employer's yard which you can keep a close eye on.
2. Chose a spot in the yard away from where people usually walk.
3. Use either a piece of string three-feet long or a coat hanger. If you use string, tie the string ends together to form a circle. If you use a coat hanger pull it into the shape of a circle. It doesn't need to be perfect.
4. Lay the circle you have made on the ground in the spot you have chosen. If necessary, weight the string or coat hanger down with some rocks to keep it in place.
5. Visit this spot every day. Notice the changes that are taking place.
- Are insects living here?
- Have any grasses begun growing that weren't there before?
- Are any interesting plants poking through?
At first you might not see many changes. If this happens, try checking your spot once a week. As soon as you do notice changes occurring, visit the site more often.
6. Keep a diary, or Field Journal, of what goes on in your spot.
7. Draw pictures of the spot when you first chose it and pictures of the changes after they occur. Be sure to date and sign your pictures.
When you get tired of watching this spot, simply pick up your circle and try it somewhere else in your yard. Remember, though, to pick an area where people will not be tripping over the string or coat hanger!!!
BE A SCIENTIST:
- Lay out two or three circles in different areas of the yard.
- Record in your Field Journal the changes occurring in each circle. Be sure to take notes the same day for all of the spots.
- Are there fewer, more, or the same amount of insects living or traveling across each spot?
- Do the same grasses and plants grow in each?
- Do the grasses and plants grow at the same rate?
- Does each spot get the same amount of rain, sun, and shade?
Who knows? Maybe your observations will help your family choose the best site for a vegetable or flower garden, children's play area, or pet area!
Melani Roewe is a former news editor, Girl Scout Leader and Adult Trainer and K-12 educator who enjoys alpine wilderness hiking, birdwatching, fishing, snow- and water-skiing, swimming, and camping. She directs her church's Youth and Adult Choirs and lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two children.