August 19, 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|
Eagle Eye Vision
Join our naturalist to learn about eagle eye vision. Can you see like an eagle?
The Meadowside Nature Center staff had a surprise visitor in the halls. The colors of this five-lined skink will fade with age, but look at how beautiful this juvenile is!
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.
American Carrion Beetle
Summertime is beetle time! The beetle is one of the most diverse groups of insects in the world. Beetles are fascinating creatures! These six-legged bugs provide pollinator services to magnolias and pawpaws as well as decomposer services – just roll over a crumbling log the next time you are hiking in Wheaton Regional Park, and you may find a beetle at some stage of its life cycle!
This adult American carrion beetle and its larvae serve the ecosystem by feasting on animal carcasses. Beautiful beetles, important jobs!
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.
Baseball: The Game of Summer
Batter up! The boys of summer are back! Baseball originated with the British games of rounders, a children’s game, and cricket. Many versions of the game known as “base ball” were played during the eighteenth century.
Soldiers played the game during the Civil War as did children and families using homemade stick bats. In 1845, formalized rules were developed by a volunteer firefighter and bank clerk named Alexander Joy Cartwright.
To learn more about the history of baseball, visit the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Facebook page.
Water: The Essential Element
Water is essential to the productivity of farming agriculture for both crops and animals. For crops, water determines plant growth, development, availability or scarcity, and water can mean a successful harvest, or total failure.
Dr. Palmer, a respected community physician who lived at Woodlawn Manor during the nineteenth century, realizing that a physician’s salary during that time period would not support his growing family, began to focus on enhancing the agricultural production on his farm. Learn more about why this element is important to farming on the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Facebook 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.
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.
Plant of the Week
Lycoris is a genus of 13 to 20 species of flowering plants in the family Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis). They are native to Asia and the Middle East in countries ranging from China, Korea, and Vietnam to Nepal, Pakistan, and Iran. These perennial bulbs are also called “Naked Ladies” because their flowers bloom on leafless stalks in late summer and fall.
These plants are winter hardy to USDA Zones 5b – 10 and do well in a garden spot with full sun to part shade. Lycoris are long-lived and attract butterflies and hummingbirds, while rarely being eaten by deer or rabbits.
Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) is native to Eastern and Central North America and naturalized in the Western part of the continent. Rudbeckia is a member of the Asteraceae family, featuring over 30 species that attract a range of pollinators from skipper butterflies and syrphid flies to metallic green bees and scolid wasps.
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) has been the official state flower of Maryland since 1918. This flower is a great plant for a well-drained and sunny spot in the garden, where its peak bloom arrives in late summer when the rest of the summer blooms are on the decline.
Brookside Gardens Fern Garden and Boardwalk
Join Phil Normandy, Brookside Gardens’ Plant Collections Manager, on a virtual tour of the Fern Gate and newly constructed boardwalk, as he highlights a seldom explored area of the gardens.
Join Brookside Gardens’ horticulturalist Kelley Heim as she discusses how the design concepts of layering and seasonality shaped the beauty of the Perennial Garden.
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.