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.  

Art + Nature = Fun & Inspiration

Single file along the trail.

Last weekend I participated in a wonderful art event that took place entirely in nature called Trails and Vistas. We hiked two miles along a rocky trail, over big granite boulders and through wind-blown junipers. Every so often we stopped to be entertained by an enchanting artistic expression.


We listened to  storytelling and poetry, watched  modern dance,  and were entertained with both humorous story-telling and thought-provoking poetry.


The artists’ backdrop was a brilliant blue sky, playful clouds, and panoramic views! As I passed  a sign for “Stephen’s Pass,” I was reminded that we were walking on the Pacific Crest Trail.

One of the goals of this art and nature event was to build community and inspire environmental stewardship through creative expression, and I especially appreciated our guides encouragement  to be gentle on the earth and with one another…something important to remember whether we’re  in the mountains or in our classrooms.


The activities below encourage children to express their own creativity through a combination of art and nature.



A big “thank you” to David Parry-Jones  for the stunning photos.


Inside: 3-D Dioramas

On the Trails and Vistas hike many 3-dimensional art lined the trail (small books filled with paintings and poetry hanging from trees and paper boats floating in a small pond. In this activity, children create a 3-D Diorama of the plants and animals in a particular habitat. A great resource is the newly-released book Nature’s Patchwork Quilt by Mary Miche.



Outside: Story Circle

A Native American storyteller left us all in laughter as he told the story of a talking turtle. Listening to the story outside gave it added drama.

This outside story-telling activity uses a Talking Stick. Some indigenous tribes used a Talking Stick at gatherings when people came together to tell stories, make decisions, teach children, or solve disputes. A Talking Stick is a carved ceremonial wooden staff that is passed around a circle from one member to another so all can speak and be heard. According to tradition, only the person holding the stick is allowed to speak, while others in the circle listen.

Materials Needed: wooden stick, yarn, feathers, beads


  1. Wrap yarn around bottom & top of a Talking Stick and decorate with feathers & beads.
  2. Take students outside and sit in a circle
  3. One student holds the Talking Stick and begins the story of the “Further Adventures of Suttles and Mako.” (These characters are based on the book Granny’s Clan, but you can adapt it for any story your students know.)
  4. After several sentences, that student passes the Talking Stick to the next student who adds several more sentences to the story, then stops.
  5. Each student adds to the story until the last person brings ends the story to a conclusion.


More Fun with Art and Nature

Make a Paper Collage, as in the book Over in Australia, illustrated by Jill Dubin.






Trina Hunner, illustrator of Molly’s Organic Farm, suggests having students make watercolor sketches of Seasonal Vegetables to reinforce concepts about the seasons.



After reading the book, In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen, children will make Placemat Pictures by drawing two pictures—one showing what bees do in the morning and the other showing what bees do at night. Then they’ll create a placement—one side they’ll use for breakfast, and then they’ll flip over it to use the other side for dinner.