Old Trees, New Life- Camping Activity

When a tree falls, its life is over. But the tree can still give life to others. The dead tree becomes its own ecosystem, where plants, insects, and microorganisms thrive-from the mosses, ferns, and fungi that make the rotting tree their home to a whole host of bugs and bacteria that eat the tree and break it down into soil for new plants! Next time you see a dead log, take a close look and record your observations in your Field Journal. You just might be amazed by what you see.

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What You Do

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#1. Find a rotting log: Look for a tree that has fallen and that has wood breaking apart in pieces. It may be slightly damp.

 

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#2. Describe what the log looks like. What is growing on it? Can you see any mushrooms, ferns, mosses, or lichens? Are there baby trees or any other plants sprouting out of the wood?

 

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#3. Do you see any insects? What are they doing? Look for tiny piles of sawdust at the base of the log. This is evidence that insects have drilled into the wood, starting the decomposition process. The holes left behind create highways for fungi and bacteria to come in and break down the wood even further.

 

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#4.  Tap the log with your fingers. Is it hollow? Wet? Bone-dry? What does it smell like?

 

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#5. Put on your gloves and gently and carefully lift the log a few inches to see if you can take a peek underneath. What do you see? Are there insects underneath? What are they doing? What do they look like? When you’re done, put the log back.

 

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#6.  Use your magnifying glass to peek at the log itself. Do you see insects breaking it down? What do they look like under the magnifying glass? What about the plants growing on the tree? What do the mushrooms look like up close?

 

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#7. Draw and describe what you’ve seen in your field journal. Try to identify plants, animals, and insects by looking at your field guide or Nature Anatomy book! 

 

There is so much to learn! Head outdoors and explore! 🙂

 

 

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Great Games for the Car!

You’re in the backseat, on the way to the campsite, but the ride goes on and on and on. Mile after mile, the minutes drag. You twitch. You fidget. You ask, “How much longer?”, and still only five minutes pass. Well, fidget no more!! 🙂 These games will make even the longest car trips zip along. They are designed with everyone in mind. You can involve the whole car (though you might want to leave the driver alone), or  just enlist your backseat pal. With some minor tweaks, you can even play the games on your own. Keep score if you want, and eliminate players or assign penalties. Set time limits, or check the odometer to use distance-a number of miles-to signal the end of a game.

 

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The ABC Game:

Look for something that begins with he letter A. You can look at the scenery, or use signs, billboards, and even license plates. Once you get something with the letter A (such as automobile, antenna or apple tree) move on to B, and so forth-until you make your way through the alphabet. You can all play at the same time or take turns.

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Going on a Safari:

In this game, a player starts with the letter A and says: “I’m going on a safari and I’m taking an…” The player says something that starts with the letter A (let’s say apple). The next player repeats the line with the first player’s objects and then adds one beginning with B. “I’m going on a safari and I’m taking an apple and a bench.” The third player then continues with the letter C, and so on! Anyone who makes a mistake or can’t come up with the name of a new object is out. The surviving player wins! (This is one of our favorites)! 🙂

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Destination:

This game is a bit harder. Players start with the letter A and then make up sentences that have a destination, a mode of transportation, and an activity that all begin with that letter. For example: “I’m going to Alabama on an alligator to anchor a boat.” The next player has B-“I’m going to Bavaria on a bus to buy a hat”-and it goes on from there! Tons of fun! 🙂

 

Those are just a few of the fun car games you can play! We’ll add more on our next post!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Unwinding After Travel Bits and Tips!

After traveling to roughly 20 locations every Spring and Summer, we have been learning how to make the home-to-road-and-back-again transitions a little less stressful, and more relaxing/productive. It’s amazing what a difference a few simple changes can make! Here are our favorite bits and tips:

 

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Coming home to a clean house.

One of our biggest goals before leaving on a trip is to make sure there are clean sheets on the bed, fresh towels in the bathroom, and that all the clutter has been cleaned off/put away. That way, no matter what time of day or night we arrive back home, we don’t open the door to feeling overwhelmed, but come back to a calm and peaceful environment. It really does make a huge difference! 🙂

 

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A premade home-cooked meal.

Before we go away, we try to always (even though it doesn’t always happen) to put some type of casserole in the freezer. It makes that first evening back a breeze, because all we have to do for dinner is pop it in the oven!

 

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An extra day off.

Having the time to unpack, do laundry, re-pack, grocery shop, and do the next trip’s food prep is really important. Since the shows are on the weekends, we normally don’t get home till Sunday night, which leaves little time to prep before work on Monday. All that being said, we try to choose at least one day, whether it be Monday or the day before we leave, to take off and get everything done. Otherwise, every evening is spent being stressed out trying to get everything done. An extra day makes a huge difference!

 

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A to-do list.

Before we leave, we try and write down things that need done when we get back. That way we don’t feel so overwhelmed with projects.

 

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Presort Laundry

We put all the dirty clothes into a bag before heading home so unpacking (and starting the wash) is more manageable.

 

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Unwind 

Even if we only have a 48 hour turn around time, it’s so important to us that we have time to simply relax, unplug and be together. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes, we love it! 🙂

 

Well, convention season is officially over for this year! It’s been a great 5 months, and have absolutely flown by! We’ve met a lot of incredible people, seen many beautiful places, shared our favorite products, and have learned a lot. We’re looking forward to this season again next year!

If you have any favorite travel hacks, we would love to hear them! 🙂