Welcome to Week 5 of Wild Cub Weekly!
"When a child gives you a gift, even if it’s a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It may be the only thing they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you."
This week we will discuss weather and water in winter, and a really cool animal that survives the coldest of temperatures!
We are so lucky to have created shelters as our homes, which help us survive during the winter from the cold and elements. A lot of animals depend on a cave for their shelter, staying in groups to huddle together or just the fur on their backs! Cold weather animals have adapted to their surroundings, just like us!
Please feel free to post your findings over the weeks! Sharing your knowledge with friends is so much fun!
Our wishful thinking for snow, worked! And may be underway
as you are reading this...
Our most common winter storms are called Nor'Easters
and they get their name from the air that is being pushed upward from the
Atlantic Ocean, and Arctic air from the north, colliding on our coast.
The winds can reach extreme speed, causing extreme weather.
This storm is coming from the interior of the continent but
is still bringing wind and snow!
Is weather becoming less predictable?
You'll hear people make a lot of predictions about the
weather based on their past experiences.
But in a warming climate, winter snowfall, pond ice,
and temperature are not following historic trends.
In your nature journals, you can keep track of weather events!
Things like when a pond becomes safe to skate on,
the first snowfall of winter, or when the maple sap is running.
Scientists use long-term records to understand the planet!
(Parents: check out the Phenology Network)
Water in Winter
Water in Winter
Since we have had super cold weather and the snow has failed to fall much over the past couple of months, ice has been great for exploring! It is like a window to observe the flowing water and slowly moving amphibians that emerge from the soil for a quick swim.
Even though the top of a pond is frozen, there is still freely moving water underneath! Water freezes solid at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the temperature of the free moving water underneath has to be warmer. But, let me tell you, not by much!
What do you think happens to all the creatures we see in the summer, that make their home in and around the water?!
Well, I'll tell you about one of my favorites...
Most of the living creatures dig themselves way down deep into the soil of the pond or beside it in the winter.
But, I think the Wood frog is one of the most incredible amphibians that can withstand the most extreme temperatures (found in the arctic, as well). Right before winter approaches, they fill their bellies up and store the starch in their livers (we would consider "starchy" foods to be potatoes or bread products) and nestle themselves a few inches under the leaves and debris beside a pond. As their bodies freeze, (yes, you heard me right! Most of their body will freeze) it turns that starch into sugar/energy throughout their body. Even their organs stop working during the winter. As the earth starts to warm again in the spring, they start to thaw out and re-emerge.
How amazing is nature!?
Colored Snow and Ice Art!
What you'll need:
- Non-toxic and washable paints (AP certified)
- Spray bottles (or get creative, turkey basters are a fun option!)
- Paint brushes
- Plastic tub
Fill the bottles up with water and a small amount of paint, just to color the water. Try mixing some of your colors, see what happens!
Put salt in some of the bottles for an experiment. This activity was done while having a day out on our pond ice-skating! We wrote our names, letters, spun around in circles, drew pictures, and saw what happened when we added salt to the water!
Inside option/ Younger kids: Take a large plastic tub, fill with water and let freeze outside. Once frozen, bring inside with some snow. Paint with water color. Once done, place back outside to freeze.
Some things to think about:
What colors did you make?
Did the colored water freeze on top of the ice right away? Or did you have to go back and check on it?
What did the salt do?
Learning objectives: Creativity and Science.
There are some really cool biodegradable plant-based paint options out there, usually come in powder form.
Here is one option.
In respect to Black History Month, it is important to acknowledge the impact that the black community has had on the roots of America. The African American community has played a huge roll in the history of our food system and animal agriculture - a fundamental part of our societal structure. This includes the majority of the food that we grow; as African American ancestors had brought over so many of the seeds that we grow today and CSAs were founded by Black communities. A huge activist in the farming communities fighting racial injustice in the food system is Leah Penniman, an author and a co-founder of Soul Fire Farm. Listen and watch her interview when she speaks about what she does here.
-Grace Bailey, Education Consultant