June 25, 2010

backyard field guide

Recently, I saw an article about creating a field guide for you backyard.  I thought it sounded like a perfect project to start in the school holidays. 

A recent exciting wildlife encounter has gotten us underway.

We saw this goanna on our door.  It was unbelievable.  I have never seen one of these goanna’s in our yard and they are less common these days since the arrival of the cane toad.  But not only was this goanna in our yard, but climbing up our screen door.

We read about the goanna in our wildlife field guide and my son decided which information was important to include in our guide.

We also documented another recent wildlife sighting.  We didn’t have a photo so my son drew a picture.  My eldest son spotted a black whip snake in a garden near our fort.  I was very proud of his response.  He immediately came and told me (not that I was far away).  So we all left it alone and went elsewhere. 

It does freak me out to think that my children might meet a poisonous snake or spider in our backyard, but I know that it is part of living in Australia.  My approach is to teach my children to assess and minimise the risks.  For example, don’t play in the garden beds, don’t lift up logs or stones without an adult and keep your eyes open. 

Now, I know that my eldest son is practising these guidelines.  And he is much better at keeping his eyes open than me, he’s always spotting interesting things when we are out and about.

If you’d like to see another example of how to go about creating a backyard field guide, Debi from Go Explore Nature has started to create one with her son.


Debi said...

How fun! I'm thrilled to see you guys have started a field guide of your own. It's such a great way for the kids to learn a bunch of information they might not otherwise. Thanks for the mention! :)

Kristine said...

This is great. I think it is so important to know about all of the animals that live in your local area. It's a step towards being able to "share" your environment with the snakes and spiders which are dangerous. Also if you know and understand something you're more likely to protect it. Have you seen Dawn French's books about the animals that they have got to know in their backyard. They have a nice mix of fact and fiction.

Michele said...

lovely idea - cant wait to see more as you add to it and a great way to teach your kids to respect nature and give it space when required

Deb said...

That goanna is fantastic! And how amazing that you know your kids are listening about safety. Snakes and spiders are a worry of ours too, but the big girl's reaction to a spider is to freak out, which is quite sad. Sounds like your guys are doing great.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a fantastic experience and good on you for grabbing that 'teachable moment' with both hands :)