One of the things we love most about the Common, Garden, and Mall are the trees, flowers, shrubs, and creatures that call it home. The warm months are a great time to get outside and learn all about the plants and animals that share the yards, streets, and greenspaces where you live. Here are some simple activities to help you look with fresh eyes and get to know your relatives in nature.
- Get familiar with the flora. How many different types of flowers can you see on your block or street? Do you know their names? Take pictures and identify at least two different flowers. Learn about their origin – are they native to New England? How long is their blooming period? Are they an annual or perennial?
- Learn the difference between evergreens. Though the flowering trees may get the springtime attention, evergreen trees help New England natural sites stay beautiful year-round. Do you know the names of the trees and shrubs that stay green all year long? Some popular evergreens include pine, cedar, juniper, and spruce. Find images of a few evergreen needles and trace or draw them to better understand their form. Can you find any that live nearby?
- Spot the bird and sing their song. Find a spot in your yard, a local park, or forest to observe the birds. What shapes are their wings and tails? What does their song sound like? If you can whistle, attempt a “conversation” by mimicking the melody. Learn more about local warm weather birds through Mass Audubon’s website.
- Identify where your local four-legged relatives live. From squirrels to chipmunks to salamanders and turtles, there are many types of animals that call Massachusetts home. On your next walk, keep an eye out for habitats that would make a comfy space for a wild creature. Hollow logs, ground holes, and nests in trees are places often overlooked by humans but well appreciated by our animal counterparts. What species live in your neck of the woods?
- You can participate in the City Nature Challenge Bioblitz, in Boston from April 30-May 3. “We want to embrace the healing power of nature and celebrate tens of thousands of people all around the world, searching for and documenting their local biodiversity, together in this event,”.