Olivia and I have been studying marshes and swamps over the past 4-6 weeks and have had a fun time doing it. This is the final ecosystem that she has learned about this year following others like deserts, forests, mountains, rain forests, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. For each one there have been tons of activities that we did in the "Burrows, Beehives & Beds Journal" from WinterPromise. We took several trips to local wetlands like the Bog Garden to observe the animals and insects that live there.
|We saw dragonflies "playing tag"|
|a Great Blue Heron hunting for food, (if you look closely, he has a turtle in his beak.)|
|more turtles sunning themselves|
|lots of fish and tadpoles|
|ducks, both big|
|along with other birds, like this nuthatch, taking advantage of the abundant food in the swamp. We watched him beat the tar out of that caterpillar for a good 5 minutes. He was determined...|
We learned a lot about the benefits of swamp ecosystems, which help with flood control by giving rivers and streams somewhere to overflow, cleaning up water pollution by filtering it through soil, and providing refuge and nutrition to hundreds of animal species.
|Olivia learned the proper water-to-dirt ratio for making good mud.|
|"not too much and not too little."|
|We attempted to open a "bug dessert bar" but the rain washed it away before we could get any customers.|
|We mashed together some brown sugar and overripe banana and smeared it on a tree.|
One of Olivia's favorite books that we read was "Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle". We studied the differences between frogs and toads and made a couple of attempts to find and catch a toad, but we were unsuccessful. However, one ill-fated trip actually let us see a swamp in action. There had been a major storm earlier in the day and when we got into the Bog Garden, it was almost completely flooded. The boardwalk was just barely above the water level, when it's usually mostly over dry ground. there was evidence that earlier in the day, it had been underwater - a difference of 3 to 4 feet from normal levels!