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From the December 2007 Conservationist for Kids

The Outside page

Ideas for Exploring Outdoors!

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A field journal is a diary of what you see, hear and experience as you explore outdoors. All you'll need to begin is a notebook and something to write with. For each entry, write the date, location where you are exploring, and what the weather is like. Take your journal outdoors with you so that you can take breaks and write down your discoveries as you find them. You can also make sketches of the things you see. If you like, you can tape in photos you take during your adventures. Record whatever is of interest to you: animals you see, signs of animals, plants you see, sounds you hear, cloud patterns in the sky. You can even record how seeing and experiencing these things made you feel!

Become a Track Detective

When there's fresh snow on the ground, head outdoors and look for tracks. Use the winter tracks guide (pages 5 & 6) to help you figure out which animal made the tracks. Follow the tracks and try to figure out what the animal was doing. Make drawings of the tracks in your field journal, and record when and where you saw them. It's fun to photograph tracks too. Pictures are best if taken in early morning or late afternoon on sunny days.

If you can't find animal tracks, make your own. Take turns with your friends making and following each others' tracks.

When we use tracks and other clues to figure out what happened, it's called "reading the trail." Can you make your tracks "tell a story" for your friends to "read" and figure out?