365 Nature – Day 85

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


I headed back to my daughter’s preschool today armed with a bag of tools for phase two of building an insect hotel. On Day 83 I went with the class to collect materials on a short walk around the arboretum. We picked up branches, lichens, mosses, bark and cones and took them back to the classroom. (For anyone tuning in late, the classroom is outside, a forest school where the kids spend the entire class time outdoors.)

Today we sorted the materials and laid a pallet down on a brick foundation. The kids then went and gathered mulch from a recently fallen tree and lined the bottom of the ground under the pallet with it. They then got to add the materials into the ‘rooms’ of the hotel, the rectangular areas of the pallet. They put in piles of cones, branches of Douglas Fir needles, bark, twigs, lichens and other bits. We then topped it with a ‘roof’ of large pieces of bark I had found in the arboretum from the recent wind storm. The kids were really excited because the bark already had quite a collection of insects in it including spiders, beetles, wood lice and centipedes.

Once we finished our flat hotel we started on the tower hotel. This was a large broken branch – another wind storm find – which we ‘planted’ in the ground. Basically we dug a hole and put the end of the branch in and buried it. I then attached cans, or at least attempted to. Of all the tools I brought, I forgot one little piece, the bit extender, which I needed to drill the screws deep in the back of the cans. The last thing we did was saw some bamboo canes to use for bee houses. I’ll go back next week to finish attaching the cans and then leave the class to add to it later.

It was fun and the kids were really interested in what we were doing. I hope they continue to add to the hotels and watch the insects which move in.

 

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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