Nature Study at America’s National Parks—A Crew Round-Up!

I’m joining some of my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers in a cool winter blog round-up this week!

Are you searching for ways to get outside and enjoy nature this winter?

Winter Nature StudyIf so, please join us on Wednesday, January 14 for a Crew Roundup!  You can find the link to the Roundup page at the bottom of this post.

It has been an extremely cold winter here….and I have to admit that we haven’t done too much outside.  Besides walking through the occasional snow from the front door to the car, and vice versa!  However, there are neat activities you can do with your child indoors even if it is too cold to be outside on a nature hike or a sledding day.

One of my favorite homeschool resources, as our readers know, are the many national parks in the United States.  The National Parks Service (NPS) has a wonderful website which will connect you to the sites of every single one of the American national parks.  Each website is chock-full of information about the parks’ histories, nature, cultures and science.  Many of the park websites have activities for kids (both online and in the parks) and resources for teachers, which can easily be used by homeschoolers as well.  Here are some links to some neat winter nature study activities you can enjoy with your children, when you can’t get outside OR make it to the national park!

President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite, 1903 photo credit:  NPS

President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite, 1903
photo credit: NPS.gov

Yosemite National Park

Located in the Sierra Nevada of California, Yosemite is home to some of the most spectacular and challenging hikes of the National Parks System.  El Capitan, Half-Dome, waterfalls, rivers and sequoia groves comprise some of the amazing forms of nature in Yosemite.  You can see a lovely short video (about 2 and a half minutes) at the Yosemite national parks site called “Winter Moments,” that shows you not only some of the beautiful scenery of the park, but also some wildlife as well as human park visitors enjoying it.

 

Mojave Rim, Grand Canyon photo credit:  NPS

Mojave Rim, Grand Canyon
photo credit: NPS.gov

Grand Canyon National Park

Of course, we’re all familiar with Arizona’s Grand Canyon!  But have you ever been there?  I’m sorry to say, we have not!  However, if you’d like to see what the Grand Canyon looks like at this very moment, they’ve posted several webcams with up-to-the-minute information.  There’s also a time-lapse photography session of a winter storm.  And while this may not be very winter-ish, it is VERY cool.  You can take a 3D photo tour of the Colorado River as it twists and turns through the Grand Canyon…..IF you have a pair of 3D glasses!  (If not, the same link will take you to a regular photo tour.)

 

A sled dog in Denali National Park photo credit:  NPS.gov

A sled dog in Denali National Park
photo credit: NPS.gov

Denali National Park

Denali National Park, located 240 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska , looks SERIOUSLY cold.  And, it’s another place I’ve never been…and I don’t know that I’ll ever make it up there!  It’s the home of Mount McKinley and covers over 6 million miles of park property.  I can’t imagine that even the rangers visit every single part of this park!

Over the course of the year, the Denali park rangers participate in a variety of projects around the park.  Even in the dead of winter, when the northern lights are shining and the temperatures range to 50 below.  You can view an interesting 7-minute video of their trip deep into the park, using sled dogs, to pick up empty oil barrels left there years ago by the government.  It’s called “National Park Service Mushes for Wilderness Cleanup.”  It has some interesting information about sled dogs and the traditions of native Americans in Alaska.  The park also has a webcam, but it’s only in operation during the summer months.

Take a look at what other Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers have to share about winter nature study, live now!

Enjoy! –Wren

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