Friday, March 2, 2018

No Winter Blues Here!

Original Post from 12/16/2014

As we near the first official day of winter and the shortest day of the year - that darned winter solstice on December 21st - many of us sink into the dreadful winter blues (also known as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder).  This year, let's fight the SAD by embracing winter!  Yes, it's cold, and gray and and icy but there is also snowy trails to walk, snowmen to build, winter wildlife, sleds and hot chocolate to warm our bodies. Here are some ways to become BFFs with ol' man Winter:

Pick a Space and Watch it Change!
There are all sorts of 365 day video projects, but this one stuck out to me as an environmental educator. Using over 40,000 pictures, the creator of this video made an amazing timelapse that shows the change that this natural space goes through in the course of a year, so that we can appreciate all four seasons!

It would be so simple to choose a natural space at your school or backyard and take a weekly picture (you definitely don't need 40,000 to see the change!). Cell phones make visual documentation easy.  If you started your project in January your students could easily see the differences from Winter to Spring to Summer. Make a poster to take simple notes on, including the colors, the wildlife, how the plants change, how the ground looks. List the kid's favorite thing about each season. It's an easy way to get your kids engaged in the outdoors all year long!


Citizen Science in the Winter
Get out there with thousands of others to participate in some science projects! When children see that their data will be combined with thousands of others and used in real-world conservation efforts they start to believe in the difference that they can make!  The Great Backyard Bird Count  is February 13th-16th and it is a cinch to get involved in. Pick a spot to document the bird species that you see.  You can log for as little as 15 minutes for one day or participate in all four. The website link tells you how to sign up be an official participant. 

To encourage the birds to stop by and get your kiddos involved in the fun, have them make their own unique bird feeder using recycled materials.  Check out some pinterest-y ideas below (and be sure to follow the District on Pinterest for more nature ideas as we build our page this winter!).


Explore Snowflakes
Talk about snow, look at the snow, play in the snow!  Observe different snowfalls to note if the flakes always look the same.  Check out any of the beautiful snowflake books that showcase beautiful photographs of snowflakes.   A highly recommended book is "The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder", available on

Most importantly, enjoy your winter breaks and time with family.  Happy Holidays!

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