Backyard Series: Be a Zoologist
“My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.”
– Jane Goodall
Did you know that sloths and armadillos belong to the same mammal family? Me neither, until my daughter fell in love with sloths and the knowledge train left the station. Her love for sloths hasn’t lessened in the two years since she stumbled upon them reading a book on a family vacation to Florida.
Since then we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a sloth at the Emerald Coast Zoo (they have very sharp teeth, by the way), in her Montessori classroom she has been given the freedom to research sloths and incorporate them into her writing, and now she has started a letter writing campaign to help protect their habitats in South America. While we can’t observe a sloth in our backyard we are able to watch the silly gray and black squirrels race across the fence and on occasion a stealthy raccoon can be seen sneaking around looking for dinner. She enjoys sitting in the backyard with her binoculars and identification book watching the comings and goings of the animals and insects in our yard.
Are you ready to become a Backyard Zoologist? Follow these steps and you will be on your way!
- FIND A SPECIAL LOCATION
Somewhere off the beaten path or your backyard, make sure it is a quiet place to sit and observe.
- BRING “TOOLS”
- A sketchbook and colored pencils
- A camera
- An animal identification book with animals found in your area
- OBSERVE THE AREA
- Look for bugs on the trees.
- Search for tracks in the mud.
- Look up, down, around and inside.
- Search under fallen trees or rocks.
- CREATE A JOURNAL
- Make it special by adding your sketches and notes about habitats and tracks.
- DESIGN AN ONLINE BLOG (with parent permission of course)
- This is a great place to showcase your observation and photographs.
Want to get even MORE up close and personal with animals? Volunteer at your local animal shelter, local zoo, or find an local organization that supports animal conservation!
Here is a list of books to pick up at your local library to learn more about zoology: