Friday File

Virtual Forest

Nature allows people to explore, use their imagination, discover new animals and plants, and engage in adventurous play. Getting outside is also healthy. If you want some inspiration, check out the virtual forest of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

Whitetail Doe (Odocoileus virginianus)You can either explore the online photo gallery, or virtually take photos of the forest scene. I found that you can take enough photos to capture all the animals in the scene.

With respect to literacy’s Flat Stanley, the Forest Service offers Woodsy Owl – a character you can print, color and take with you into the forest for a photo opp. The website suggests you can then post the photo onto their Facebook site, but I couldn’t find it – maybe it was just too early in my morning!

If you want a handy map listing the parks in the US, the Where To Go section leads to a Google-like map that lets you find all the parks within a 15 to 50 mile radius of a US postal code or city. It’s a handy reference.

Another place to learn about nature is at a botanical garden or natural history museum. Many such places have active educational programs. One example, a little farther away, is the Learning Forest display the Singapore Botanic Gardens, featured in the Straits Times.  The Learning Forest displays the Wealth of the Rainforest, and offers a marshland experience.

Whatever you do this weekend, spend some time outside.  Have fun!

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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