Get yourself outside! Safely, of course! Nature is all around you, no matter where you live. Can you find 15 minutes a few times a week to head out the door and look (and listen!) around you?
Go outside, wherever you live, and make observations of the ‘wildness’ around you with a special eye to the connection of wildlife, water, soils and forests. Select the same area (yard, vacant lot, field, woods, neighborhood) every time you go outside so you can gain a better understanding of the natural world you inhabit. Engage all of your senses, connect to your surroundings, learn who and what are your natural neighbors, ask questions, be curious, spend 15 minutes 3x/week on the same Engagement. Once the fifth Engagement is completed start again at number one since there will be many natural changes throughout the seasons.
Collaborate with your teammates as you each go out to investigate your own respective area at the same time and day, make observations and then reconvene, electronically, to compare and contrast your observations, and share reflections on the experience. Feel free to share your observations or questions with Pam Landry, MassWildlife Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Envirothon Engagement in the subject line. For Massachusetts wildlife fact sheets visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife
If interested, post your observations of plants, wildlife, and more through the NCF-Envirothon iNaturalist project https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ncf-envirothon?tab=about
Engagement #1: Observation (Learning to Look, Looking to See) It’s a pdf you can print with directions and space for a journal entry- or just jot the info down on paper to share with your team when you connect virtually.
Engagement #2: Maps (Sense of Place)– make a birds eye view sketch of the terrain around you- what do you notice?
Engagement #3: Trees! Did you catch the webinar on Tree ID? Even if you didn’t, head out and take a look around- what characteristics do you notice? Do you see any wildlife using the trees? Are there different kinds of trees in different places? Let us know what you observe!
Engagement #4: Birds! Were you one of the millions of folks who got really excited about watching birds at the beginning of the pandemic? Even if you’re not a certified bird nerd (yet), take a look (and a listen!) around outside and notice your feathered neighbors.
Engagement #5: Focused Observation of Wildlife– Can you find a critter to watch near you? Yes Squirrels count, but is there anything else in your neighborhood? What did you need to do to observe the animal?