Families Outside, Resources for Outdoor Learning, Free Seeds, Seed Packet Art Project, Swelling Buds
 
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["Sullivan County"]
 
April        Learning from Home        Issue 43
 
 
Families are Getting Outside for Learning
 
As everyone adjusts to learning and working from home, don't forget what nature can offer during this time. In the Upper Valley, most of us are close to wide-open spaces where we can practice social distancing as we get some much needed fresh air.
 
Nature still offers all the things it did before. It is good for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. It provides a landscape for learning about natural and cultural history, inspiration for art, music, and creative writing, a place for physical activity, play, and discovery!
 
In this issue of eNews, I have compiled resources from my colleagues all over the Upper Valley, that share ideas of how to do learning outside. On our facebook page, I plan on adding an idea for learning outside everyday.
 
In addition to that, I would love to create a gallery to share pictures of families getting outside this spring. So take some photos of what you are doing outside and post it on our facebook page with #GetOutsidethisSpring, to inspire others to get outside too!
 
Local Resources for Place-based Education
 
Resources for Outdoor Learning
 
Inside Outside Newsletter has many distance learning resources for educators in their spring issue. Webpage resources.
 
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a Bird Academy, an interactive mural, online lessons on feathers, and a library of bird sounds and videos of birds.
 
Black River Action Team (BRAT) out of Springfield, VT has a Dragonfly Detective citizen science program.
 
Natural Inquirer has free publications, lessons plans, videos, and other useful resources that can be downloaded from their website. 
 
Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative (UVTPC) puts out a newsletter with resources every month. Sign-up for it here!
 
Four Winds Nature Institute came up with this great list of things to do each day to learn outside.
 
Citizen Science is a great way to learn about the natural world while contributing to real science projects. My favorites are iNaturalist, GLOBE at Night, and the Backyard Bird Count.
 
Maine Environmental Educators Association (MEEA) came up with this great list of activities. 
 
Northern Woodlands has a magazine that offers over a quarter century of articles, photographs and artwork related to northeastern forests.
 
Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) has a list of public lands all over the Upper Valley you can learn and play. Wash your hands and take a walk!
 
Other Online Resources for Learning compiled by Susan Ruggles.  
 
All About Seeds!
 
UNH Master Gardener Free Seed Program
 
UNH Cooperative Extension is pleased to offer free seeds!
 
This program is made possible annually through generous donations of seeds and through the efforts of New Hampshire Master Gardener volunteers.
 
Vegetable, flower, and herb seed packets are available for schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, 4-H clubs, community gardens and any education-based or youth groups.
 
Get Seeds!
 
 
Seed Packet Art Project
 
Help us put the culture back in agri-culture as we promote saving local seeds by submitting a design for the front of our Native Pollinator Seed Packets that will be given to area schools and sold at the SCCD 2020 Spring Plant Sale.
 
This project is for Sullivan County Middle and High School Students

Theme: Seed Mandalas & Mosaics

These can be made with real seeds, the seeds can be painted, or the seeds can be drawn.

Online Submission Deadline: April 10, 2020
 
Learn More
 
Where will the Sullivan County Educators be this Month?
 
Unfortunately, all of our education programs are postponed for now. 
 
We still have 2 art projects with online submission and will continue to provide resources and ideas to teachers and parents via monthly eNews and daily Facebook posts
 
Naturalist Notes
 
Swelling Buds
 
Even though snow is currently falling ouside my window, I know that spring is on its way. How do I know that? Because I saw some red maple flower buds (like the ones in the picture) starting to swell last week. 
 
Buds hold the hope of spring in them. They are tightly packed energy sources for new flowers and leaves usually covered in protective scales. As the ground warms up and the amount of sunshine each day increases, the sap starts to flow. One day if finally makes its way to the outer extremities where the flower and leaf buds reside. The cells begin to swell and break forth from the scales. . . Big bud in little scales!
 
Sometimes the flowers are the first to burst forth, so the wind can take the pollen where it needs to go for pollination to take place before the leaves get in the way.
 
Other times, the leaves burst forth first, so they can make more food to send to the flowers that are usually more elaborate and pollinated by insects.
 
When I worked and lived in the Smokies in East TN, I had the pleasure of observing some of the same trees in a phenology (seasonal changes) plot every week. After what seemed like a long winter, it was so exciting to notice the buds starting to swell. I tried to savor those quiet moments in early spring, knowing that everything usually happened pretty quickly after that. 
 
I challenge you to savor these quiet moments at home, in your own backyards and do your best to notice spring arriving. . . look for it, listen for it, smell it, feel it, and if you have a redbud tree or purple violets blooming in your yard, you might even taste it!  Be well!
 
Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt
 
 
Dawn Dextraze
Education and Outreach Specialist
Sullivan County Natural Resources and Conservation District
95 County Farm Rd.
Unity, NH 03743
603.504.1004
ddextraze@sullivancountynh.gov
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