mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Terrific Turkeys

A common image at Thanksgiving is a big turkey. Although it’s sometimes shown on a plate for dinner, I prefer the image of a wild turkey proudly displaying its tail feathers. As you may know, Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey rather than the eagle to be the national bird for the United States.  He reasoned that it’s a respectable bird that shows courage. Although he did admit that it’s also vain and silly at times.

I’ve gotten to know the habits of the wild turkeys that live right out my backdoor. The males “strut their stuff” in early spring as they try to impress females. And they ARE impressive with their glossy bronze wings, blue and red heads, and fanned tails.

 

Turkey chicks are born in late spring and immediately start following the mother hen on her foraging strolls.  I even had one mother and baby at the bird feeders on my deck.

Now that the chicks are grown, I often see a “parade” of  turkey heads passing by my window.

I collected dozens of turkey feathers to bring into my class this week so the students could examine them and practice “zipping them up” as if they were preening. (It’s illegal to possess feathers of migratory birds, but it’s perfectly OK to have feathers from game birds, such as turkeys).

 

Author Cathryn Falwell describes turkey behavior through the seasons in her book Gobble, Gobble. It’s written in rhyming verse and makes a wonderful read-aloud for young children.

 

Falwell has created a packet of creative activities for teachers, which is available on the Dawn Publications website. I’ve included two of her activities below.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude for nature’s amazing creatures.

 

Inside: Become a Nature Artist

The illustrations in Gobble, Gobble were created using three techniques: collage, print making, and block printing. Give students a print making experience using tempura or poster paint. Apply paint to an object with a brush or dip the object into a small pool of paint. Transfer the paint to a piece of paper. Some good print making objects include:

  • Natural Objects—leaves, bark, flat stones, shells (If you look at the back of Gobble, Gobble you’ll clearly see print making using leaves.)
  • Fruits and Vegetables—carrot, broccoli, onion, apple, celery, potatoes, or any other produce that isn’t juicy when cut. Some of these may need to cut to produce a flat surface.
  • Found Objects—bottle caps, jar lids, bits of hardware, sponges, coins, bubble wrap, and items from the recycling bin

 

Outside: The Flour Trick

In Gobble, Gobble arrow-shaped footprints lead a young backyard naturalist, Jenny, to a flock of funny-looking birds with big strong feet:

Wild Turkeys!

 

The Flour Trick is a great activity for parents to do with children at home over the Thanksgiving holiday. Children may discover animal movements that usually go unseen.

Near your home, sift flour onto the ground where you suspect animals pass by. Scatter seeds (or appropriate food for the animals in your community) on and around the flour-dusted area. Come back the next day to see if any animals have visited. Are there tracks? Can you identify them? What story do they tell?

 

More Turkey Fun and Facts

Read Turkey Facts and Trivia on Aristotle’s Thanksgiving website.

Make a paper bag turkey and find other crafts on the Kaboose website.

Find lots of Thanksgiving games at the Kids’ Activities website.