This is the last of the Summer Series Challenges! Our summer has been very busy with all kinds of nature study and I hope that the Outdoor Hour Challenges have helped to make your summer more memorable. Our family is definitely using our senses more when we are outdoors, especially in the evenings.
There will be a two week gap before the Autumn Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges begin on September 17th. Use your time to do informal nature study or to catch up on any challenges you hoped to get to but didn’t have time for over the summer.
Summer Series #12
Raccoons and Skunks
Train Your Senses
- Sight: Observe any mammal up close: fur, teeth, ears, eyes, paws. Use a flashlight to see if you can see eye-shine in the dark.
- Smell: Close your eyes and smell the night air. Can you smell a trace of skunk?
- Touch: Feel different kinds of mammal’s fur and compare: soft, bristly, thick, coarse, smooth.
- Hearing: Listen closely to hear any mammals in the dark: rustling in the leaves, scratching, barking, howling, sniffing, eating.
Inside Preparation Time:
1. Read pages 245 to 250 (Lessons 60 and 61) in the Handbook of Nature Study for information about skunks and raccoons. Highlight some points that may be helpful when you have a chance to observe a skunk or raccoon in person. You can also use the links in the follow-up section for additional resources for these two mammals.
2. Read in Discover Nature at Sundown pages 190-209 and 212-226. Use the territory maps to discover what kind of skunks you may have in your area. Also you can use the exploration ideas for activities to learn more about skunks and raccoons.
Outdoor Hour Time:
This week you can spend fifteen minutes outdoors at any time of the day if you are interested in looking for signs of mammals. In the evening you may be able to smell the fragrance of a skunk. If you are out during the day, you can look for mammal tracks, holes, scratches on tree trunks, scat, hollows in the trunk of a tree, burrow, holes in the lawn.
Remember that one of the main aims of this series of challenge is to train your senses. You may not find a raccoon or skunk to observe up close but you can use all your senses to learn more about your own backyard. Keep the suggestions above in mind as you spend your fifteen minutes outdoors for this challenge.
You can use the provided raccoon notebook page or the skunk notebook page from the Summer Series ebook, a blank nature journal page from the sidebar of my blog, a free mammal page, or a blank nature journal.
If you would like all the Summer Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. Here is a link to a complete description:
Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges