Nature Study: Exploring the Community
Ninety-five percent of the time we are home. We enjoy many adventures in our own back yard and we rarely have the need to leave our little eight acre swamp and go exploring. This isn’t possible for everyone, and many probably can’t stand the thought of not getting in a car for 5-7 days straight, but that’s how we roll most weeks.
That being said, one of our favorite adventures takes us away from our home, and it starts with a simple map and phone app! There is this fabulous thing call Geocaching! It’s still somewhat new to us, but we are finding the adventures endless! We discovered this new hobby shortly after joining our second Nature Pal Exchange and found the two work hand in hand in creating amazing and memorable adventures for our family.
Geocaching is a real life, world-wide treasure hunt, and we found that alone got us excited to learn more about it! About once every other week we go out on a geocaching adventure. Our own little community is spotted with these cache’s, just waiting to be found.
We quickly found that these adventures are more than just looking for a cache (which is simply some type of waterproof container that holds a log sheet for you to write your name and date on it when you find it, and sometimes the larger cache’s contain trinkets and trackable items). We not only are learning how to use a compass and a map, but we are learning about our surroundings, and the areas in our community that we would other wise likely not have visited. We take a bag with us to collect litter along the way, and we keep our ears and eyes open taking everything in. We stop often to look up, down and all around, in search of both the geocache, and anything interesting in nature.
We find leaves, feathers, rocks, seeds, nuts, berries, animal tracks, and flowers. We notice the little things. Those things we would typically step on or over and never give a second glance. When we slow down and take the time to really look, it’s amazing how many little details become such a big part of our journey. Many of the geocaches in our area are at our parks and reservoirs giving us the chance to explore those with eyes wide open, but we also find them at cemeteries.
These have become some of our favorites. The history in the cemeteries is endless, and I find myself imagining the people there, and what their lives were like back in the early 1900’s, 1800’s and even earlier! The twins are only 4, so much of this is over their heads right now, but I love thinking about how we can incorporate this into their future education, yet at the same time they are learning so much even now. Conversations about life and death, learning when to be still and quiet, and respect. Respect and favor for our earth and everything around us.
We’ve found a way to make an adventure whenever we need or want to get out of the house, and a way to discover our local community in the process.
Hannah Halleck / @hannahhalleck