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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Get Back Outside - Week 2

Even though I am not one to be convinced to get back outside (I have yet to come back in) I am one who loves to explore the outside world in every way possible, education being one of them.  When my children were smaller, so were our adventures.  In fact, exploring and adventuring started right in our backyard.

Taking on the second challenge of the Get Back Outside campaign had me take a trip down memory lane.  Years ago my children would marvel at a wood bug, giggle at a worm and become awe struck at a squirrel scampering across a branch. Ben and Liv are blessed with a large outdoor space that they can explore, play, and have fun in.  It includes an open grass area, wooden play structures, several garden boxes, flat and hilly spaces, and a forest complete with a stream and wildlife.  Today it is not uncommon for them to see deer stroll by, watch rabbits quietly graze, hear raccoons rustling in the bush and identify several different types of birds flying overhead.  We can hear frogs croaking, crickets cricking, and owls hooting.  All this in a developed subdivision located in a small rural community.
Ben letting us know our garden eating, shrub pruning neighbour is passing thru
 
In week 2, David Suzuki asked us to travel back in time by imagining and mapping the biodiversity that existed in our neighbourhood before it was developed.  We could convey our answers through art.  I armed the kids with chalk and sent them to the cul de sac.  Their mission was to draw as many different plants, animals and natural resources they have seen in our backyard.  I came back out to find 1 drawing. 


An artists rendering of all the cute crawling critters in the yard.

“Surely we have more than caterpillars in our backyard!” I stated.  “Oh yes,” Liv replied, “this caterpillar is not just any caterpillar.  It is a worm, a snake, a slug, a millipede, and a centipede caterpillar.  Is that diversity?”  Well done kids, well done.

Our second attempt at Backyard Biodiversity was a “before/after” picture if you will.  Clearly we already live in an area that is rich in diversity, aside from the dinosaur and its egg.
Backyard biodiversity, dinosaurs and all!
 
Long after this Get Back Outside challenge is over, I will be keeping the topic of biodiversity in the back of my head.  As a family we explore the wild parts of Vancouver Island regularly with backcountry trips via hiking, paddling, or biking.  Next time we are camped on a remote beach or standing at the summit of a peak, I will bring up the whole before/after question but in reverse.  Imagine the biodiversity that would not exist if this was developed?  How can we develop and maintain diversity?

Week 1 & 2 Get Back Outside Photo Gallery

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