Friday, April 26, 2013

Library Learning Patch Nature Club--All About Trees

This week our nature club class was all about trees. Our book was My Favorite Tree.  The book not only features many trees, but also tells about their traits, wild companions, and uses.

The children were treated to a very informative presentation by Master Naturalist Dennis Wilson.  He is a staff specialist at Oklahoma State Agricultural Experimental Station in Oklahoma.  Mr. Wilson brought many specimens of both needles from conifers and branches from deciduous trees.

Explaining how pine trees grow

See the little flower?

The children were fascinated by a little inch worm that hitched a ride on one of the branches.

Now, an update to the garden!. Just look at our progress:

Cucumbers are blooming

Lettuce ready for another harvest

Almost ready to climb the teepee

Healthy sunflowers

Stay tuned for more fun next week!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Library Learning Patch Nature Club--The Web of Life and Our First Harvest

Today the group learned about how everything in nature is interrelated. The book for this session was The Web of Life.

A Giant Book!

The children played a game demonstrating how everything in nature is connected and discussed how one thing affects another.

Now it was harvest time!!

Our lettuce crop

Some of the radishes were ready also.

 Yummy  radishes!

Looks like salad with dinner tonight!

 Dividing the first harvest

The group planted new herbs (the first ones did not survive the last freeze) and lots of petunias. We hope the petunias discourage the squash bugs.

Stay tuned! We have our first blooms on one of the tomato plants, the sunflowers are growing, and peas are climbing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Buzzz-Learning All About Bees

The Library Learning Patch Nature Club was fortunate this week to have a dynamic duo--Bobby and Lisa Cornelius--as our guest instructors. Bobby has been a beekeeper for years and is quite knowledgeable about them.
The Amazing Bee
He  brought some of his equipment as well as an empty hive box.

 He described in detail how the bees get the nectar and produce honey. The children were amazed to learn how many flowers a bee must visit in order to gather enough nectar to produce honey. He also gave them a good tip for what  they should do if  stung by a bee--don't pull out the stinger, scrape it off.   He passed out activity books which featured bees.

Lisa Cornelius, our Director,  devised a game to teach the children how a bee pollinates our flowers.[source] She filled paper bags with Cheetos and gave each child a paper bee. They visited the flower bag, took a Cheeto, thereby gathering nectar. She then gave each child a flower. After visiting the flower bag, each child went to someone else's  flower and rubbed it, thereby spreading the pollen (Cheeto yellow). What fun they had.

What a cute idea!

 Passing out the flowers and bees
Gathering Pollen


The snack today was honey, apples and graham crackers.

Then, it was time to go to the garden and water--their favorite activity!
Plants Can't Live Without Water!

Kat Kraft checked her worms--so far they have not frozen!

 We enjoyed our beautiful Spring day yesterday. Let's hope we don't have a frost tonight!

Stay tuned!!.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Library Learning Patch Nature Club

Our third year of Library Learning Patch Nature Club has begun. We have changed our name this year  to  more accurately reflect the purpose of the program, teaching children about their natural world. This nature club is a joint effort between the Red River County Public Library and the Red River chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist organization.We are sponsored by  Friends of the Library.

Many exciting classes are planned for this year. Several members of the Texas Master Naturalists  will be teaching classes in their area of expertise. Bobby Cornelius  will also be returning to teach a class about bees.

Master Naturalist Judy Maroney is responsible for planning the lessons this year and Master Naturalist Sheri Schwed is responsible for overseeing the garden. Master Naturalists Kat Kraft, Truman Kraft, Sharon Black, and Jan Smith are teaching lessons and assisting in the classroom and garden. Sharon Black is also writing articles about our activities and distributing them to area newspapers. This year we have nine children in the class. Simon Pease is volunteering as a junior leader.

Master Naturalist Judy Maroney

Simon  Pease, Junior Leader
In our first class we learned about earthworms and set up an earthworm composting bin. We also tested the soil for the ph level and found that it is alkaline, perfect for our gardening.

Master Naturalist Sheri Schwed testing soil

In the second class we learned about soil and worked in the garden, planting lettuce, radishes and onions.

Planting Sunflowers
In later classes we have learned about parts of plants, seeds, how seeds travel.

Master Naturalist Jan Smith 
Examining a seed

Master Naturalist Sharon Black

We were fortunate to have one of our Master Naturalists, Walt Davis, lead a class teaching the children to observe things in nature and then draw them. All of the children had a great time choosing a leaf, examining it closely, discussing its characteristics with others, and then drawing it. Mr. Davis is a past director of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas and former curator of exhibits at the Dallas Museum of Natural History.

Walt Davis teaching children to observe nature

Even though we covered the plants during the last freeze, we lost a few of our plants and it was necessary to replant. This farming is hard work!!

Stay tuned -  our next post will feature photos of our little garden.