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Making Nature Field Guides for Kids

Updated: May 9

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, those of us at Maker Studio Kidz believe that it is crucial to reflect on the many remarkable female scientists, engineers, and inventors who paved the way for our woman-owned STEM studio. 


Lucky for us, Women’s History Month falls at the beginning of spring, so today we offer an exciting springtime nature field guide-building activity inspired by Rachel Carson, the trailblazing environmentalist and marine biologist whose groundbreaking work transformed our modern understanding of the natural world. We will also be doing this activity with students at our Here Comes the Sun spring camp!


Sketching a California Poppy

In 1962, Carson’s bestselling book, Silent Spring, effectively kicked off the modern environmental movement by exposing the harmful effects of chemical pesticides. Through meticulous research and a deep empathy for nature, Carson brought the public’s attention to the interconnectedness of all living things and the urgent need to protect our planet for future generations. To honor her legacy, let’s embark on a nature journaling activity that will help our newest generation of young environmentalists connect more deeply with the natural world.


Rachel Carson reads in the woods

Field Guide Activity Overview:

In honor of Rachel Carson’s legacy, we’ll embark on a nature scavenger hunt where children will become explorers, sketching their own field guides to document the wonders of their local environment. Through observation, creativity, and hands-on exploration, they will pay tribute to Carson’s legacy. 


Materials: 

MSK - SF Bay Area Flora and Fauna Scavenger Hunt
.pdf
Download PDF • 17.77MB


A notebook and a pencil

Instructions: 

  1. Explore your surroundings: Venture outdoors to a nearby park, nature reserve, or even your own backyard. Take a moment to sit quietly and ask them to use all their senses - what sounds do they hear? What smells do they smell?

  2. Search for Hidden Treasures: Armed with their nature journal and drawing materials, participants set out to find all of the flora and fauna on their scavenger hunt sheet. 

  3. Create a Field Guide: As children find new species, encourage them to sketch their findings in their field guides, drawing what they see with as much detail as possible. This focused observation will deepen their connection to nature and foster an appreciation for the biodiversity around them.

  4. Share and Reflect: Gather together at the end of the scavenger hunt to share field guide sketches and discuss the experience. Encourage participants to reflect on what they observed, the challenges they faced, and how they may continue to explore and protect the natural world, inspired by Rachel Carson’s legacy.


Sketching three-cornered leek flowers

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