THIS EVENT IS FULL! We’re sorry we could not accommodate a larger group. Please visit the Great Plains Nature Center to learn about other programs and opportunities they have available.

Our g2g Outside November event is just around the corner, and it will be a fun one! The Great Plains Nature Center is hosting a Night Hike/Full Moon Walk through Chisholm Creek Park. Enjoy an evening under the stars and experience nocturnal nature!

There are two important things you should know…

1. You MUST RSVP to attend.

2. Space is limited to 25 people.

This event is full, but it looks like they are going to do the hike again (not as part of g2g) on Wednesday, December 18th.

Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, but you don’t need to bring anything else.

Advertisements

P1060125  I can’t believe that it’s almost September! I really don’t know where the summer has gone. Our September g2g Outside event is coming up in less than 2 weeks! It is going to be held here at the Sedgwick County Extension Office.

Treats, Treks, & Toodle-oo’s

When: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 6-7 p.m.

Where: Meet in the Demonstration Garden at the Sedgwick County Extension Office (It’s on the Ridge Road side of the building) for some treats and then we’ll head off on some treks! We’ll be walking on our Nature Trail and perhaps have a scavenger hunt of our grounds as well.

Who: Anyone that’s bringing a child with them!

Cost: FREE!

No RSVPs are necessary.

So, the treats and the treks part of this event are pretty obvious. Maybe you’re wondering about the “Toodle-oo’s” part?

Well, that’s the other part of the news. Those of us that have been working with g2g Outside for the last 5 years have made the decision to end the program after this year. We have lost staff in the past couple of years and all of us, including our partner agencies, have been taking on new and different job responsibilities, leaving less and less time for g2g Outside. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the blog has been pretty quiet this year. There is no longer anyone that is able to spend enough time on g2g Outside to keep offering the program in a way that is thriving and growing. We are all sad to say goodbye to you, but we hope you’ll keep on playing outside anyway!

SO….The September event will be the LAST g2g event hosted by our core team. I know that Tonya is planning to come back for the event, and most of the rest of us are planning to be there.  We hope you can stop by to say goodbye!

The November and December events are still going to happen, just with one of the partner agencies. Keep watching the blog for information about those events. After our December 2013 event, there will be no more g2g events planned for the future.

The blog will still be here for links and references, and I may even post something once in a great while. We hope you will keep on with the good outdoor habits and play that you’ve learned in the last 5 years!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go on a hike around your neighborhood or a local park to find interesting leaves.

Of course, trees have interesting leaves all year, but in the fall it can be especially fun to go out and look for leaves because many of the leaves are turning colors other than green!

Here are some things to look for when you go on your hike:

– Trees with leaves that are needles rather than flat leaves.

– Trees that still have green leaves.

– Trees that have dark purple leaves.

– Trees that have more than one color on their leaves.

– Trees that have very small leaves.

– Trees that have very large leaves.

– Leaves that feel very thick and leathery.

– Leaves that feel soft or fuzzy on either the top or the bottom.

– Trees with very strangely shaped leaves.

– Trees that have more interesting things on them than just the leaves (like acorns or fruit).

Here is a link for a more structured “Leaf Hunt” activity.

Fall is a great time to walk around looking at leaves for a lot of reasons. Of course, with leaves all over the ground, it is a lot of fun to run through them and crunch them up! Dry leaves can be folded along the veins to explore the symmetry of the leaves.

You can also collect leaves that are on the ground or gently take colored leaves off a tree to take home. If you put the leaves between sheets of newspaper, then on a rainy day you can take the leaves out and use them for an activity. It is really easy to glue a dry leaf to paper to make a card or use several leaves to make a collage. Older kids can collect a variety of leaves and identify them to start a leaf collection.

If you get your leaves home and want to try to identify the trees they came from, here are three websites that can help you out:

What Tree Is It?

I’ve Got My Leaf, Let’s Get Started

Leaf Tree ID Key

Mission Report: Leaf Hike

Email your mission report to us at g2goutside@gmail.com.  Your mission report should include the answers to the following 2 questions and a picture of you doing the mission.

1. How many different leaf shapes and colors did you find?

2. Tell us about (or show a picture) of your favorite leaf. Using a book or a computer, tell us what kind of tree that leaf came from.


I’m sure the last thing that some of you want to do right now is head outside, what with all the pollen floating around out there. Apparently Wichita is one of the worst places to be right now in the U.S., in terms of pollen allergies. Happily, I don’t seem to have allergies along that line, so I am still enjoying the outdoors…although the wind is blowing me around quite a bit!

If you can get out there and enjoy the beauty of our spring weather, you should do it! It’s a great time of year to do a scavenger hunt with your kids. Here are just a couple things I saw while out walking in the Sedgwick County Park last week.

There are always a couple turtles hanging out on this fallen tree. Sometimes they jump off when I walk by, but this one stuck it out.

There are also lots of beautiful flowers growing all over. They aren’t in your lawn here, so let the kids enjoy them!

This is a variation on the “Mow a Path” post

Mowed leaf pathIf you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a yard covered in leaves, now is the time to get creative.  At our house, the leaves have been off the trees for a couple of weeks.  The leaves have turned soggy and are no longer fluffy and crisp and good for jumping in.

This is our family’s time to blaze a trail!  I have used a rake the last few times but got the mower our for the wide paths shown in the pictures.Worm castings

Once the leaves are moved out of the way, other surprises may appear.  Look for small insects, little green plants, or even worm castings (that is worm poop!).

Rake or mow paths to items of interest in your yard.Bright colors found in fall flowers, leaves, and insects Younger children would enjoy going on a color hike along their new trail.  Hand them three or four crayons and see of they can match up a color during their backyard “expedition.”   Older children will often invent “chase” games with siblings.

Have fun and be creative!  See what your kids come up with along their nature trail.  If they really enjoy this activity, remember that snow season is coming soon with many more trail opportunities.

“Connecting with the Outdoors” automatically makes me think of nature, trees, flowers, spider webs, ladybugs, etc. In an urban environment it is easy to think that outdoor connections can’t take place.  But Wichita holds some hidden gems! Consider taking in one of the following:

Let us know what other hidden, urban gems you find!

Taking kids on a nature walk can be a great way to expose them to new things. There are some great places in and around Wichita to go. My personal favorite, which I think is pretty unknown, is the Riparian Nature Trail that is on the back edge of the Sedgwick County Extension grounds. The Nature Trail is connected to the Sedgwick County Park walking/biking path by a bridge (built by an Eagle Scout!), and there is lots to see. I try to walk during my lunch hour, and I almost alwasy walk on parts of both the Nature Trail and the Sedgwick County Park paths.

These areas are usually pretty quiet and peaceful, with a good amount of shade and breeze on hot days. If your kids aren’t used to going on walks like this, or need something more interactive to keep them interested, here is a game you could play with older children.

Give each child a clipboard with a piece of paper and a pencil. Then give instructions that they are to write down everything they see (or hear or smell!) along the walk that falls into a particular category. For instance, all animals or signs of animals/insects. For younger children, they could write down or draw everything they see that is blue or white. Encourage them to observe details – different bird sounds, squirrels doing different things, etc. At the end of the walk, they can compare what they saw (or heard or smelled). Have them cross off everything that someone else also wrote down. At the end, have everyone count how many unique observations they made to determine the winner.

My list from walking the trails a week ago would look something like this:

  • Dragonflies with irridescent blue bodies
  • 3 squirrels
  • 1 squirrel climbing a tree
  • 9 robins flying
  • 2 robins eating a worm
  • 8 different bird songs
  • 6 turtles on a fallen log in the creek
  • Aphids on a flower
  • A web on a tree branch
  • Rustling noises in the grass
  • A tiny salamander/newt/lizard?
  • A bumble bee on a flower