CONTRIBUTION · 12th August 2012
Northern kids are pretty close to nature, but there is always more to learn. Some Hazelton library reading club members were lucky enough to be part of Connecting With Nature, as an outreach of a Smithers based program.
Rosamund Pojar, author, naturalist and biologist spent Wednesday, August 8, with three groups of young readers by and library staff at “Ksan, exploring and explaining the natural world.
In the trees and brush where the Skeena and Wetzin’kwa (Bulkley) rivers meet they looked for different kinds of leaves, flowers and berries; learning which are native plants and seeing how what seems like just one flower may really be made up of hundreds of tiny flowers.
Why so many in one? More flowers means more chances for the plant to multiply itself. Pojar demonstrated how a flower is designed to attract bees, which spread the pollen from flower to flower and again, make more flowers.
Berries may look good, but many are poisonous, so no tasting is the rule.
Back at the campsite table the topic was birds, as Pojar unpacked a collection of feathered creatures, some on loan from the Ministry of Environment, including a stuffed great horned owl and kestrel. Others in the collection were a goshawk and sharp shinned hawk, several hummingbirds and many songbirds.
All were donated, from accidental deaths.
Looking closely at different beaks, claws and legs, Pojar asked the group figure out what kind of food each was suited for. There were many good guesses, and it was found that long legs and long beaks are good for wading in water and spearing fish or frogs, duck-type bills are great for scooping while sharp bills can pierce berries and strong thick bills are perfect for crushing seeds. The long hollow bill of tiny hummingbirds are perfect for reaching into flowers for nectar.
With gloves on, the kids were able to handle a variety of birds and see up close the brilliant colours of grosbeaks, cedar waxwings, western tangier, and the more subtle tones of sparrows, swallows.
Why do birds sing? To announce their territory and also to attract a mate.
Why are male birds so bright and fancy? To attract female birds.
And why are the bird females so plain by comparison?
So they can be invisible as possible when they are sitting on their nests with eggs and later their babies.
It was a good day to be out of the library in nature and learn more about the world around us and the other living things and creatures who share it.
As well as learning about leaves & flowers, the riverside was to explore
Looking closesly at leaves and flowers with an expert
The nature day was a whole family event
A great horned owl was part of the learning about birds