We should remember that Nature Study is not a formal topic requiring lots of information in order to pass a test. Charlotte suggested “all is incidental, easy, and things are noticed as they occur.” (vol. 3, pg. 237).
Nature Study can be intentional and you can set goals, make plans, and “revel” in nature with a little bit of work. My statement here refers to creating an environment where nature study is normal, interesting, and exciting without being forced or coerced. We are merely INVITING nature to be a bit closer to us for our mutual benefit.
We can do nature study anywhere – even in our backyard on the deck, in our front yard, in the vegetable garden, on the window ledge. Even in a flower pot in the house or an ant farm, a fish tank, hermit crabs, etc.
When we had a lot of green growth and small trees surrounding our yard with a stable source of water for the birds and animals, we saw lots of things. All I needed to do to the deck was add a hummingbird feeder and some easy care flowering plants and some hostas for green foliage. We had some moments there – from turtles and opoosums, to raccoons and 25 year old spiders as big as my hand (don’t ask – it still gives me the willies) to butterflies, mud-dabbers, snakes and moles. Then we moved to a house with no trees (they had to be cut down) and not much greenery for birds and animals.
To enjoy the seasons and invite nature into your area, think of the goals you have.
- Do you want birds?
- Do you want insects like butterflies, ladybugs, and bees?
- Do you want to watch a plant grow, flower and produce? What are you interested in?
- Do you want frogs or fish?
There are many ways of attracting these things to your small space and you can do it fairly easily. Since we recently moved, I have realized that my goals will need to be re-examined and new ones made.
Things that are important to us are the birds and so feeders and bird baths are important. We love wild animals (from a safe distance) and so we need to provide cover for them – and maybe some food to help them be interested. We also want insects – bees, butterflies, praying mantis’, ladybugs, and other critters like, gulp! – spiders. We want color and interest in our yard year-round so need to plant some things that will accomplish that. We have wanted a little waterfall and fish pond for years. I have been studying the Grow Native! plans on what to plant and where for optimum color, soil retention, and wildlife habitat. I am excited to get started on it!
Here are some kid and nature friendly ideas for small spaces:
Plant some colorful flowers
Stick a shepherd’s hook in your flower pots and hang a bird feeder on it.
Look who you attract with that:
How fun to watch him up close and personal!
See the other posts in the series: