The Summer Solstice has ushered in some lovely weather here in New England. Perfect for a bit of summer nature study. I have no agenda whatsoever in regards to the natural world and the observance of it. What I do is simply supply plenty of heavy drawing and watercolor paper, paints, colored pencils and a selection of journals and nature themed books. Most times these items are just haphazardly left on the end of the old pine farm table, other times left outside on the decking where a child, or myself, can quickly grab paper and pencil and sketch at a moments whim. Most days, visitors of the natural world present themselves unannounced and our inclination is to run and grab binoculars, camera or sketching materials, often startling our visitors into flight! This is why I keep these things within reach and handy, to allow for a gentler retrieval of the needed items, thus allowing our visitors to linger undisturbed so we may capture their beauty. A bit of "messiness" is worth it to further the observation of our natural world. Below is some pictures my husband captured of one such visitor to our cottage. This luna moth visited most of the day while we went about our outside activities. I think he felt quite at home. At the end of this post is a giveaway so make sure you get to the bottom of the post to enter!
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A Luna Moth
The delicate, exquisite green of the luna's wings is set off by the rose-purple, velvet border of the front wings, and the white fur on the body and inner edge of the hind wings. Little wonder that it has been called "The Empress of the Night". The long swallow tail of the hind wings gives the moth a most graceful shape, and at the same time probably affords it protection from observation. During the daytime the moth hangs, wings down, beneath the green leaves, and these long protections of the hind wings folded together resemble a petiole, making the insect look very much like a large leaf.
~Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford Comstock, pg. 297
Of the teaching of Natural Philosophy, I will only remind the reader of what was said in an earlier chapter- that there is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay, by his own observation, a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future. He must live hours daily in the open air, and, as far as possible, in the country; must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner of growth and fructification of every plant. He must be accustomed to ask why- Why does the wind blow? Why does the river flow? Why is a lef-bud sticky? And do not hurry to answer his questions for him; let him think his difficulties out so far as his small experience will carry him. Above all, when you come to the rescue, let it not be in the 'cut and dried' formula of some miserable little text book;... To get this sort of instruction for himself is simply the nature of a child: the business of the parent is to afford him abundant and varied opportunities, and to direct his observations, so that knowing little of the principles of scientific classification, he is, unconsciously, furnishing himself with the materials for such classification.~Charlotte Mason
"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things."
~Charlotte Mason, British educator
I have an extra copy of Anna Botsford Comstock's classic book, Handbook of Nature Study that I would love to give to another nature study enthusiast. Just leave a comment telling me what how you incorporate nature study into your seasons and your entered.
Comments will close Friday, June 29th, and the winner will be announced within this post.
Diane from North Carolina won the copy of Handbook of Nature Study! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all who entered:-)