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.



What You Do

#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.


#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?


#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.


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


#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.


#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?


#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! 🙂




An Indiana Summer-Part 2

Last week we shared a few of our favorite places to go during the summer. This week we’re sharing our favorite events! All of the following events haven’t happened yet, so there is still plenty of time to plan! 🙂


#1. Hendricks County Fair


The fair is a highlight of our July! From the animal showings to the tractor pulls and yummy food-it’s such a fun week! The Hendrick’s County Fair runs from July 16-22 this year! 🙂



#2. Festival of the Lakes


From carnival rides to boat rides and games… the Festival of the lakes offers a wide variety of family fun. It runs from July 19-23 this year!



#3. Frankfort Hot Dog Festival


Downtown square. Frankly the BEST HOT DOGS in the WORLD! Great American Dog Competition, exciting sporting events the entire family will love, Disc Dog Competition, Lots or arts and vendors. FREE entertainment both days. Runs July 28-29.



#4. Indiana Family Star Party At Camp Cullom


Camp Cullom. Indiana’s largest star party. Astronomy, camping, food, speakers, kid’s sky trekker program, telescopes, and so much more! 🙂 Runs July 28-29!



#5. Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival


Amish Acres. 300+ vendors demonstrate their trade and sell their wares. Family style Thresher’s dinner in the century old barn and guided tours of the historic house and farms! Runs August 3-6.



If you have a favorite local event, be sure to let us know! We love exploring new places! 🙂