Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quiz 2- Insects

Quiz #2 Insects

Test your insect knowledge on this buggy quiz!
  1. Which animal is not an insect?

  2. Walking Stick
    Pill bug/Roly Polie

  3. Which insect is not a member of the Beetle Order?

  4. Milkweed bug
    Lady Bug

  5. Which feature is not a good way to tell a Butterfly from a Moth?

  6. Abdomen size
    Type of antennae
    Color of caterpillar

  7. Which Insect Order is the most diverse?

  8. Beetles
    Butterflies and Moths
    Bees, Ants, and Wasps

  9. Which insect order lives part of its life in water?

  10. Dragonflies
    Bees, Ants, and Wasp
Thanks for playing!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Fun Drawing Lesson

I thought I would share a fun drawing lesson that I learned from a book called Drawing Nature.  I borrowed the book from the Nature Center, and unfortunately I don't remember the author's name.  This lesson applies to all types of drawing not just nature.  If you've taken a drawing class, you may already be familiar with these exercises.  I know that not everyone enjoys drawing, but I think drawing really helps people take the time look carefully, it helps me remember things that I've seen, and you can create some wonderful art.  I liked these exercises because it made me think about how I look at things and helps me improve my hand-eye coordination.  I did the lesson with a bunch of 10 year-olds and they seemed to enjoy it, too.  Parts of the lesson are a real challenge.  You can spend anywhere from 20-40 minutes on the lesson.  

1.  Pick something to draw.  It's good to start with something small, and somewhat simple.   You can also choose something in a photo.

2. Observe the object.  Spend 10 minutes looking at your object from all angles, trace it with your fingers, close your eyes and feel the texture, perceive how it is proportioned, notice as much detail as possible.  

3. Draw from Memory.  Put your object away and take 5 minutes to draw everything you can remember about your object.

4. Contour Drawing- Draw without looking at the paper for 5 minutes Put your notebook under the table.  It is really hard to not look.  Putting the notebook under the table keeps you from cheating.   This is my favorite exercise because the drawings are really funny looking.

5. Gesture Drawing- Draw very quickly for about 20 seconds.  Don't worry about anything, no erasing, no worries.  This exercise helps you see the most important part of the object and get the feeling of the drawing.  It is my second favorite exercise.  It helps me loosen up and have fun.

6. Detailed Drawing.  Now, draw your object getting as much detail as you want.  You can  shade parts to make it 3D, ad notes such as the color of the flower, and ad texture.  Give yourself 10-20 minutes to make a final piece of art.  

Fossil Drawing
1.Memory  2. Contour
3.Gesture  4. Detailed
June Beetle
1.Memory  2. Contour
Contour Drawings of Sleeping Dogs!  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring has Arrived!

Spring has arrived in Austin, TX.  It seemed to come suddenly and earlier than normal.  The signs that I am especially enjoying are the smell of my Mexican Plum tree blossoms, the special sight of Sandhill Cranes heading north, bluebonnets and spiderwort wildflowers blooming, and watching birds collecting nesting material.  The cardinals are making music.  The grackles are doing dances.  It’s a beautiful time of year.  Another super surprise was one of the apartment chickens had a batch of chicks.  Our apartment has chickens, 2 hens and a rooster.   They escaped from someone else’s yard and just run around pecking and cockle-doodle-do-ing. 

One reason that spring caught me off guard is that this year is so different from last year.  Last winter, we had freezing weather followed by a severe drought.  This year we have had a warm winter, and above average rainfall.   Gardening with so much variation can be a challenge.  This is my fourth spring planting season in Austin, and each year is unique.   Both this year and last I planted broccoli and peas on Jan 20, but last year everything froze.  I was able to replant the peas, but didn’t get any broccoli.   My pea and broccoli plants are growing like mad this year.  Hopefully it doesn’t get too hot too soon before we get some veggies.  I usually plant tomatoes in the 2nd week of March with the knowledge that everything could still freeze.   So far, I’ve planted 2 tomato plants with the intention to plant at least 4 more.  Some people planted tomatoes about 2 weeks ago, and the plants are doing well.  I appreciate farmers who actually grow things for a living, and allow me to run to the grocery store. 

What signs of spring do you enjoy the most?

What gardening tricks have you learned?   

Spiderwort bloom

Red Admiral on Mexican Plum
Zoom in to find chicks.

Fuzzy picture taken through
our bathroom window screen.
You have to be very sneaky
 to get a photo of these chicks!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let's see if this works?

I think the quiz will work, but it I'm not sure I got the scoring correct.
Please let me know how it works and if you like quizzes.

Mammal Quiz 1

See if you can the answer 5 mammal questions.
  1. Which North American mammal has the most teeth?

  2. Merriam's Shrew
    Virginia Opossum
    Yellow-bellied Marmot

  3. Which Mammal is not a Rodent?

  4. North American Porcupine
    Red Squirrel
    Black-tailed Jackrabbit

  5. Which of the mammals does not have top incisors?

  6. a horse
    a deer
    a feral hog

  7. Which mammal is the true carnivore?

  8. Coyote
    Northern Raccoon

  9. Which mammal is an insectivore?

  10. Nine-banded Armadillo
    Northern Raccoon
    Striped Skunk
Thanks for taking quiz with me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

NAI Conference

Last week, I attended a conference of Interpreters.   The conference was designed to help people who work at nature parks, zoos, and history museums be more effective in reaching people.  I attended several sessions including how to write information signs, working with preschoolers, voice exercises to speak clearly, and designing lessons that appeal to teachers on field trips.  I also got to go behind the scenes at a history museum and see how displays are made and managed.  The conference was fun, and I was encouraged.  

The people at this conference were very passionate and knowledgeable about their sites.  Everyone at the conference genuinely wants to help visitors get the most out of their visits and would like reach more people.  Most of you (blog readers) are either fellow nature center staff, or family and friends who spend hours outdoors.  Most of you are interpreters, too.  You help others including your kids, nephews and nieces, and friends connect to nature.  You enjoy learning and sharing your knowledge.  Unfortunately, most of the US population live in cities and people don't spend as much time outdoors.  That is why being an effective interpreter is important.  

Have you been to a really good museum lately?  What did you learn?  What sticks with you about the museum?  How did you connect to the material?  

Broccoli plant with water droplets.  So pretty!