Friday, June 20, 2014


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)

While I was out, I got a look at the river, which I haven't visited in a while, and which was running high thanks to all-day rain last Friday.

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?


  1. I've started following a local blogger who keeps "The Kansas Almanac". Love his stuff. The very day I start wondering, "What are those purple flowers blooming now?" he always seems to post with the name of them (Sensitivebrier). It's been fun!

  2. I love the idea of an almanac, Meryl. I think I might steal it. Thanks!

  3. I have been wanting to do some fern printing this year. It is such an incredible plant.

  4. Oh, Heather, prints from ferns would be so great. I'm definitely going to try that!


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