by Melani Roewe
is just around the corner, and soon all manner of wonderful little
surprises will be peeking up at you as you venture out for a walk. Little
shoots of pale green grasses, pointed spears of crocus and daffodil plants,
and the teeniest white, pink, or blue five-petaled flowers of thrift and
phlox are getting ready to emerge from their winter sleep. What an exciting
season change this is!
A fun way to discover the changes taking place is
to choose a spot in your yard which you can keep a
close eye on.
spot you choose should be away from where
people usually walk.
3. Ask mom for either a piece of
string 3 feet long or a coat hanger.
If you use string,
tie the string ends together to form a circle.
If you use a coat hanger,
ask mom or dad to help you pull it into the shape of a circle. It doesn't
need to be perfect.
4. Lay the circle you have
made on the ground in the spot you have chosen.
(If necessary, weight the string or coat hanger down with some rocks to
keep it in place).
Visit this spot every day. Notice the changes that
are taking place.
- Are insects living here?
- Have any grasses begun growing that weren't = before?
- Are any interesting plants poking through?
At first you might not see many changes. If
this happens, try checking your spot once a week. As soon as you do notice
changes occurring, visit the site more often.
- Keep a diary, or Field Journal, of what goes on
in your spot.
- Draw pictures of the spot when you first chose it and
pictures of the changes after they occur. Be sure to date and sign your
When you get tired of watching this spot, simply pick
up your circle and try it somewhere else in your yard. Remember, though,
to pick an area where people will not be tripping over the string or coat
BE A SCIENTIST: Lay
out two or three circles in different areas of the yard. Record in your
Field Journal the changes occurring in each circle. Be sure to take
notes the same day for all of the spots.
- Are there fewer, more, or the same amount of insects living or traveling
across each spot?
- Do the same grasses and plants grow in each?
- Do the grasses and plants grow at the same rate?
- Does each spot get the same amount of rain, sun, and shade?
Who knows? Maybe your observations will
help your family choose the best site for a vegetable or flower garden,
children's play area, or pet area!
Aren't you smart!
Melani Roewe is a former news editor, Girl Scout Leader and Adult
Trainer and K-12 educator who enjoys alpine wilderness hiking, birdwatching,
fishing, snow- and water-skiing, swimming, and camping. She directs her
church's Youth and Adult Choirs and lives in Oklahoma with her husband
and two children. She is also owner of the Glass