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  • Abigail Castriotta

Explore Your Own Backyard This Summer!

Updated: Jun 15

Welcome to the Knights Hill Naturalist Blog! My name is Abbie and I am the Knights Hill Naturalist this summer. I am a Colby-Sawyer student double majoring in Environmental Studies and Studio Art and a runner on the cross country team. I have always loved exploring the outdoors and fell in love with the trails around the New London area when I entered college. Due to the present circumstances, I have rediscovered the small beauties of my own backyard and local area. I hope you stick around as we uncover the wonders right outside our doors this summer!

Weekly programs will be available right here! Each week will consist of a video program about the theme, activities for all age groups (from young children to adults), a nature identification challenge, and opportunities to participate in citizen science. I will schedule a weekly "Ask the Naturalist" opportunity to come together virtually and discuss the week's activities.

Themes for each week are outlined below:

6/28: Backyard birds and backyard habitat

Learn to identify birds in your backyard by sight and sound. You may be surprised by some of the species that call your yard home during the summer. We will learn ways to optimize backyard habitat for birds and other local species. An opportunity to participate in citizen science will be introduced during this week.

7/5: Tree Identification

We will learn to identify local tree species by their leaves, bark, shape, and even smell. What can composition and structure tell us about the local environment?

7/12: Wetland ecology

We will discover creatures big and small that live in the wetlands around town. What role do wetlands play in ecosystem health?

7/19: Skywatch

We will learn to read the sky both at night and during the day. We will learn how to spot and identify constellations and other features in the night sky. We will discuss cloud types and how they can help us to predict weather.

7/26: Nature Journaling

This week will provide a great opportunity to strengthen your observational skills. Using materials from home, we will work on drawing or writing about what we see around us.

8/2: Forest detectives – uncovering clue to the past

Uncover the history of the land around your home! We will use clues such as forest composition and stone walls to understand past land uses and changes in climate.

8/9: Ferns and wildflowers

See how many fern and wildflower species you can find around your home! You will be surprised by the local biodiversity. What pollinators can you find frequenting these flowers?

Contact me at abigail.castriotta@my.colby-sawyer.edu with any questions!

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