Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Autumn Colours Hike
How Instagram Inspired Our Autumn Quest

The Spark:  
During the autumn months, the natural world is just bursting with colours in every hue.  But you must hurry because just as the peak colours appear, it's time to find a nearby patch of nature, forest, woodland, woodlot or just take a stroll in your neighbourhood.  Just locate some trees!  Dress for the weather, get on your splash gear, put on your sturdy hiking boots and grab your painter's kit, camera and cellphone.  Be quick!  The fall colours mark the change is seasons from summer to autumn and have inspired many artists and people from every corner of the globe to search out the best spots for gazing at these wondrous colours that appear but once a year and then fall to the ground and whither away in no time at all.  It's the peak season for fall.  Have you ever marvelled at the colours of autumn leaves?  Create a painting, take a picture, capture and share your discoveries in nature at this most splendid time of year, post them on your Instagram page to share with the world!  Get inspired and inspire others.

Calling all Super Natural Superheroes to ACTIVATE!  Let's embark on a super autumnal nature hike, revel in the splendour of autumn, share our discoveries and get inspired by this wondrous time of year!

Start Your Quest:
Why:  To get inspired by the splendid colours of autumn.
What:  To hike in natural spaces, to observe what is happening, changing, withering, bustling, blowing, hiding, tumbling at this time of year.  To paint in nature, take pictures, capture your findings and share and inspire others as well as yourself.  To find out how Instagram inspired us to expand our learning.
Where: In a nearby patch of nature.
Who:  You, your family and friends.
When: As soon as you can get yourself organized.
How:  Find out below.  

Take Action:

1.  Start your autumn hike:
Dress for the weather.  The autumn months are wet and muddy but, as the saying goes, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing."

What you will need:
*splash wear 
*hiking boots
*rain wear (incase it is a rainy day)
*painter's kit
cellphone for access to Instagram

2.  Collect some samples of your favourite leaf colours:
Here is an outdoor table with our leaf collection of favourite fall colours including some leaves that are still green.  We brought our little play friends to join in on the fun!  

3.  Look at the shapes of leaves:
Along with our favourite colours, we began noticing our favourite shaped leaves.

4.  Play a Leaf/Tree tracking game:
Track the leaf back to the tree.  Play this game:  Try and track the leaf back to the tree by looking down at ground to try and spot other leaves that are a similar shape to the one in your hand.  Can you spot some similar leaves still on the tree's branches.  Congratulations!  You've found your tree...  Our tree was a maple tree.

5.  Observe and discover new things about your tree:
On the ground around our tree and attached to some of the branches, were these seed pods that we later found out were called winged keys or samara's.  They carry single seeds and usually grow in pairs.  Children explored seed pods and found out that they are mostly dispersed through wind dispersal.  They whirl through the wind like the blades of a helicopter.  

6.  Planting and saving seeds:  
When we posted these images on Instagram, the children shared their thoughts and found out that when the seed is removed from it's pod, the pod remains very sticky and you can stick the seed pod to your nose as a fun thing to do!

When the seed pods turn from green, to yellow to brown, they are then ready to be planted and can be planted in the autumn months.  If you would like to dry out and save your seeds for spring time, then keep then in a paper envelope in the refrigerator until the seeds turn brown (then remove).  

7.  What critters eat these seeds:
Keep an eye out for chipmunks, wild turkeys, grouse, and mice.  

8.  Find other examples of where seeds are hiding and try to find out how they are dispersed:

Don't Stop Here:
Keep on researching and finding out more about seed dispersal during the autumn months.  Who knows, it may turn out to be one of your great passions in life, and to think you started it right here on this quest.  Don't forget, if you have a hunch about something just email us and we'll give it a whirl and get back to you.  

Quest Check:
Follow us to check if your interests match our quests.

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