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.  

Earth Day and Birth Days

Time for celebrations! This week marks Earth Day and the birthdays of two important naturalists.

images-2Earth Day began on April 22, 1970, in San Francisco. Now over 100 countries celebrate Earth Day, making it the largest environmental event worldwide. It’s a special day to appreciate nature and learn ways to protect our environment. Find Earth Day activities for your students at the EPA website, and read about kids protecting a rainforest in Forever Forest: How Kids Saved a Tropical Treasure.

john-muirJohn Muir was born on April 21, 1838. His passion for nature took him on a range of adventures, including a 1000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida. Thanks to him, large areas of wilderness were protected that all of us can enjoy today, including Yosemite Valley in California. Learn more about his fascinating life in Earth Heroes: Champions of the Wilderness. He reminds us to “keep close to nature’s heart.”

imagesJohn James Audubon was born April 26, 1785. Through his lively and realistic paintings he inspired people to appreciate the beauty of birds. Introduce your students to the amazing world of birds through The BLUES Go Birding book series, illustrated by artist Louise Schroeder.


Inside and Outside: B-earth-day Party

This week I’ve chosen a variety of games and activities you can use for an Earth Day Birthday Party.

images-4Front if By Land, Back if by Sea (inside or outside)

Arrange children in a circle facing outward. Call out words that either relate to earth or water, telling them to step forward for “earth” words, and backward for “sea.” Whoever steps in the wrong direction is out. Play until one person is left. Earth words might include: land, mountain, desert, dirt, hill, ground. Sea words could include: water, rain, ocean, river, pond, or stream.

Recycling Relay (inside or outside)

images-5Line up children in two teams. Have each team face two empty bins (one for paper and one for plastic). Give each team an equal pile of recyclables such as empty plastic bottles, cereal boxes, etc. Tell each child as they step to the front of their line to toss an item into the appropriate bin for paper or plastic. The team that finishes with the most items making it into the correct bin wins.

Recycling Construction (inside)

After the relays are over, divide the children into teams. Give each team a large roll of packing tape and half of the recyclables used in the relay. Challenge each team to build the most creative structure they can using their materials. If they need ideas, you can suggest towers, buildings, tunnels, arches, cars, etc.

Earth Day Paper Quilt (inside)

Use the directions to make a paper quilt using images related to Earth Day. Be sure to discuss each piece that the children color, such at wind power, solar energy, and recycling.

Read Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats and do any of the activities suggested by the author on the Dawn Publications Downloadable Activities page (scroll down to the book title).

sunflower_sproutSunny Party Food (inside)

Every party needs food. Follow these directions at to grow sunflower spouts in just a few days.