Sit Spot with a Nature Journal

nature journal

I started a nature journal when shelter-in-place began. I like to sit on my porch in the sun and write down what I see, hear, feel. The journal is homework for a naturalist training course I’m taking, but anyone can do it. I’ve found it calming in the midst of the pandemic. You can follow the guidelines of Naturalist John Muir Laws, but really any pen and paper will do. So far, I’ve… Read More

Explore Nature’s Healing Powers Right at Home

Russian Gulch State Park

On all my Zoom calls with family and friends lately, we are exchanging recommendations for a good read. We’re all looking for something uplifting, while substantive. Fascinating without being too fantastical.  So of course I am telling everyone about one of my all-time favorite books that will hit the spot: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams. If you’re a lover of the outdoors—whether… Read More

Neighborhood Lemon Hunt

As we follow directives to stay close to home, I have been turning to explorations of my own neighborhood, the Grand Lake district of Oakland. Spring gardens are in full bloom and citrus trees are bursting across the East Bay. At the same time—to help pass the time and motivate my family to keep active with school assignments, choir practice, and soccer drills—I have been using baking projects as a fun reward…. Read More

Sheltering in Place with a Couple of Unusual Backyard Visitors

bird watching

I have a tall redwood tree in my backyard that two raptors have begun to use as perches, one in the day time and the other at night.  My day time visitor is a white-tailed kite, an accipiter that eats mostly small rodents. The white-tailed kite hovers above its prey, wings flapping, until it suddenly swoops down, talons out, and grabs its meal. This type of behavior is called hovering. The kite… Read More

Take a Closer Look at Birds in Your Neighborhood, Learn About Local Climate, & Recycle Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

bird watching

With just four materials (see instructions below), you can make your own bird feeder and watch birds in your neighborhood! Recognizing and noticing the different types and numbers of bird species in your area can be a sign of how the local climate is behaving. Climate change does a lot more than just heat up our planet, it can also cause more intense weather, including floods, heatwaves, and droughts. This extreme weather… Read More