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.  

View from the Window Seat

I flew home to California from Michigan last week. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ve got to say it: “The ground below looked like a patchwork quilt.” Squares and rectangles of various shades of browns and greens spread out below me—the farms and fields of the Midwest in autumn.

As we flew over the Great Plains the patchwork continued, but the squares contained circles—fields watered by circular irrigation systems.

When I got home I learned that it was Thomas Jefferson who established a survey technique that created a grid pattern across most of the U.S. But no man-made survey can dictate rules to Mother Nature, and I delighted in seeing rivers, lakes, and mountains interrupt the regularity of the pattern. From my vantage point of 31,000 feet, I could see how erosion sculpted the land, how glaciers scraped and gouged the Midwest, and where trees gave way to rocky peaks.

What I couldn’t see from my window seat were the individual plants and animals that made up the habitats below. However, it was easy for me to imagine them because I had just read Nature’s Patchwork Quilt by Mary Miche. The activities below explore the pieces and patterns of the world’s habitats.


Inside: Where’s the Wilderness Kid?

Consie Powell, the illustrator for Nature’s Patchwork Quilt, has hidden images of kids interacting with nature in some of the patchwork quilt pieces of the book. Follow the directions in Where’s the Wilderness Kid? to have students find the hidden kids and discuss human activities that can be done in each habitat.


Outside: Wild Wonderful Words

Nature’s Patchwork Quilt introduces students to key environmental vocabulary words, such as interdependence and biodiversity. A complete list of words and definitions is found in Wonderful Wild Words.

Walk around your school grounds to find concrete examples of the terms, such as camouflage, adaptation, or survival mechanism. Back in the classroom, identify the vocabulary terms that you couldn’t find around the school, such as zooplankton or phytoplankton.


More Fun with Habitats, Heroes, & Quilts

One of the quilt designs in Nature’s Pathwork Quilt illustrates 18 environmentalists, including Rachel Carson examining ocean vegetation, John Muir exploring the forest, and Jane Goodall observing a chimpanzee. All of the environmentalists are chosen from the Earth Heroes series which contain short, highly-interesting biographies.


Getting kids involved in quilting is easier than you may think. Find out how at The Craft Studio.