July 11, 2020
For more activities, visit our Nature Center and Facilities Facebook pages listed here:
|Agricultural Farm History Park||Black Hill Nature Programs||Brookside Gardens||Brookside Nature Center||Cabin John Ice Rink|
|Locust Grove Nature Center||Meadowside Nature Center||Needwood Mansion||Wheaton Ice Arena||Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park|
What Are Animal Adaptations?
Naturalist Geri Drymalski teaches about animal adaptations and survival with the help of a box turtle, an educational animal from Brookside Nature Center, Montgomery Parks.
Unlike some amphibians that lay their eggs and let nature take its course, red-backed salamander moms stay with their eggs to protect them. Mothers find a moist environment for a nest cavity, usually in a rotting log, to keep their eggs well-hydrated.
A red-backed salamander mom curls her body around her eggs and stays with them, only eating if something crosses her path. Once the little salamanders emerge from their eggs, they stay with mom in the nest cavity up to a few weeks after hatching. What a hard-working, amazing animal mother!
An Uninvited Guest: The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
The brown marmorated stink bug is a frequent and unwelcome guest each spring in many Maryland homes. Known by many, but loved by few, the insect has spent the winter hiding in homes and other buildings in large adult groups.
But now, with warmer temperatures, the stink bug is becoming active, and you may start seeing it as the bug makes its way outdoors in search of food and mates.
Visit the Brookside Nature Center Facebook page to learn more about this insect and instructions for DIY origami project.
Box Turtle Vibrations
The box turtles at Meadowside Nature Center usually spend their day interpreting vibrations caused by visitors to the Curiosity Corner, but it has been a little quiet around there lately!
How do box turtles hear? Box turtles do not have external ears. Instead, they have skin on the sides of their head that forms a tympanic membrane and protects their inner ears. The hearing range of a box turtle is more limited than humans, picking up low vibrations.
Visit the Meadowside Nature Center Facebook page for pictures of Tulip the box turtle experiencing sound vibrations during her music in the tub enrichment.
For more Animals activities, visit our Online Animals & Nature page.
Did you know that ice rinks are painted? In fact, in order to repaint an ice rink, you have to melt the ice to do it!
Why not paint some ice of your own at home? With a baking tray, some watercolors and a towel (to soak up any mess), you can create a wonderful masterpiece! Check out the naturesource.com website for step-by-step instructions.
Ice Castle Excavation
Looking for a fun, easy, at-home activity to keep your children occupied and learning? How about an ice excavation? This is a neat, easy-to-do activity that only requires a sand castle bucket, some toys (that can get wet), and water! Check out these step-by-step instructions.
Rainbow Melting Ice Experiment
What combines ice, fun, coloring and learning? Typically our summer camps do just that, but, with no camps this year, we hope that you have fun doing this rainbow melting ice experiment from the Powerful Mothering website to bring the ice, fun, coloring, and learning to your home!
DIY Nature – Botanical Art
Botanical art is the depiction of plant life through art. While oftentimes beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, it depicts accurate information and scientific details about the plant.
This form of art is important to sharing and understanding information about the natural world and the role plants play in it. And now you can take part in the fun as well! Visit the Black Hill Nature Programs Facebook page for step-by-step instructions to create your own.
How do you stretch? Static warmups used to be taught to athletes of all sports, but scientific data now show that dynamic warmups better prepare you physically and mentally for exercise. Watch this video from former National Hockey League player Gary Roberts on how to have an effective dynamic workout at home.
Olympic Day Workout
We celebrated Olympic Day on June 23! Get into the spirit, be good to your body and move along with the athletes in this 30-minute video from the largest ever 24-hour digital-first Olympic workout.
Importance of Sleep
Would you call yourself a “Sleep Champion?” Whether you are still constantly training or dialing down your activity levels these days, sleep is crucial in restoring your physical condition and optimizing mental health. During your time off the ice, get lots of sleep, but first watch this Team USA video on the importance of sleep.
Physical Literacy and Athletic Excellence
Now is the time to grow your physical literacy and to help your friends and family do the same. There is no time like the present to focus on your ability, competence and desire to be active for life. Learn more about physical literacy and athletic excellence with these resources from USA Hockey – American Developmental Model.
For more Health & Exercise activities, visit our Online Health & Exercise page.
Costumed Interpretation at Needwood Mansion
Montgomery Parks’ archaeologists hold their Archaeology Day every year at Needwood Mansion (formerly known as the Sunnyside Plantation) to introduce archaeology to the community. Visitors, young and old, learn about current archaeological investigations, dig and process artifacts from the simulated archaeological site, and try out different archaeological activities. such as ceramic mending and seed identification.
One of the popular activities at Archaeology Day is visiting with the costumed interpreters, who portray people who lived at, or near, the mansion during the nineteenth century. Visit the Needwood Mansion Facebook page to learn more about costumed interpretation.
Teddy Bear Picnic Day
On July 10, we celebrated Teddy Bear Picnic Day. In 1881, when Benjamin Palmer inherited Woodlawn Manor from his father, Dr. William Palmer, summer picnics became quite fashionable in America. These Victorian Era family and social gatherings provided an opportunity for gaiety and respite from the day to day toils of life. Much like today, participants would bring their own delicious culinary treats to share at the picnic. Learn more on the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Facebook page.
The Carp Pond
In Europe, carp fish was a dietary staple for upper class families as far back as the
fifteenth century. These immigrants were quite surprised that carp was not available and native to America. In 1867, Dr. Spencer Baird of the Smithsonian Institution was appointed head of the newly formed United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, and one of his first missions was to begin importing carp to be grown throughout the United States by farmers. Visit the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Facebook page to learn more about the history of this fish’s presence in Montgomery County.
History of Cabin John Regional Park
Where is the “cabin” in Cabin John? Although Cabin John Regional Park is located a few miles away from the Cabin John community located next to the Potomac River, there are many stories of how the park got its name. And, there is a lot of history within the park, like this cabin. It was built in the 1930s as a summer and weekend retreat by Dr. Charles Armstrong, an NIH epidemiologist. (We are grateful for our epidemiologists of the past and today.)
Read more about the history of the park on the Cabin John community website.
For more History activities, visit our Online History & Archaeology page.
Backyard Nature Surprises – Pondhawk
We love hawks here at Meadowside Nature Center! However, this is one we do not talk about as much–the Eastern pondhawk.
The pondhawk is a type of dragonfly and is known for eating insects as large it is. The insect has a special adaptation for hunting, large spines on its middle and hind legs that help it grab its prey… maybe similar to the talons of its avian namesake.
Plant of the Week
The canna is native to the Americas, from the southern United States to Central and South America. It is one of the earliest domesticated plants in these regions and has been cultivated by indigenous communities for thousands of years. The edible root is high in starch, the leaves can be turned into paper, and the seeds are used for jewelry.
While cannas are not hardy to our Mid-Atlantic region, they are wonderful additions to the summer garden, growing well in containers or in bright sunny spots.
This colorful plant is native to Central and Southeast United States and supports a range of pollinators, including native bees, wasps and butterflies. Additionally, the flowers serve as a winter seed source for many bird species, like the goldfinch.
Echinacea does well in a dry and sunny garden spot and pairs well with plants. like Achillea millefolium (yarrow,) Salvia (sage), Coreopsis (tickseed) and Agastache (hyssop).
Join Brookside Gardens’ horticulturalist Kelley Heim as she discusses how the design concepts of layering and seasonality shaped the beauty of the Perennial Garden.
Harry Dewey Memorial Garden Virtual Tour
Join Brookside Gardens’ Horticulturalist Jeanette Proudfoot for a virtual tour of the Harry Dewey Memorial Garden, where she highlights the tapestry of plants that support our local wildlife.
For more Nature activities, visit our Online Animals & Nature page.
Old Fashioned Fun Games
Games have been a favorite family pastime for centuries. Ring toss, or quoits, as it was called in the eighteenth century, originated in Greece at the Olympic Games. Pick up sticks, originally called jack straws, was first played by Native Americans using straws of wheat or branches. Archeologists think that ancient Egyptians invented bowling by using large rocks, then settlers brought the game to America in 1670.
Click on this link to PBS Kids for instructions on how to make bowling pins out of water bottles.
Figure Skating Bingo
BINGO! Play a round of figure skating bingo with our unique bingo card. Mark off each one that you have experienced or that directly applies to you in your figure skating career and post your completed bingo card in the comments on the Wheaton Ice Arena Facebook page!
Visit the Cabin John Ice Rink Facebook page and test your hockey knowledge with this hockey trivia activity.
19th Century Fun – Marbles
Many of us have seen a marble, the spherical toy often made of glass. But, how many of us know how to play a game of marbles?
Marbles, both the toy and the game, was very popular with children during the nineteenth century. It so popular that the term “Lose your marbles” was used to express the feeling of being upset or frustrated. Playing marbles is a great way to spend time indoors with the family.
The children in the photo are enjoying a game of marbles, which is not recommended for children three years and younger, due to potential choking hazard.
Check out this video on how to play your own game of marbles at home.
19th Century Fun – Cup and Ball Activity
What toys did children in the nineteenth century play with for fun? One toy was the cup and ball, which is a lot harder to master than it may seem. Check out this PBS Kids video that will show you how to make your own cup and ball toy.
For other unique activities, visit our Online Unique Activities page.