The first order of business in the naturalist class I'm taken has been ferns.
Over the week, I needed to collect, identify, draw, press, and mount a fern specimen.
So Sunday I went out into our woods in search of ferns.
I never noticed before how many different species of ferns we have growing just along our little trail.
I saw at least eight different species (and succeeded--I think--in identifying six of them).
I brought the specimens back to the house to key out (it was too mosquitoey out there to sit and look at sori under a hand lens!).
For a couple, I hadn't grabbed fertile fronds (which are often necessary for identification--see how much I've learned already?).
Now when I walk outside, I can say, "Sensitive fern!" or "Bracken fern!"--two that have clear characteristics (most of the others I would probably have to start again and key them out).
I'm looking for them everywhere I go!
I've set up my desk as a naturalist station, and I'm hoping it inspires the kids to join in (Z and I looked under the microscope at the little scent balls on the back of the hay-scented fern)
And waded through this gorgeous buttercup field.
I already love how this class is getting me outside more and noticing things that have slipped by my attention in the past.
What are you noticing this summer?