Strickland/ TFN Junior Naturalists – Week 8

It is the 8th week of our Strickland/ TFN Nature club and we are going strong! Thanks to everyone who has attended and everyone who has sent in cool nature observations. So great seeing the flying squirrel, the wild turkey, but also your amazing drawings! We are very excited to have learned to see more by drawing! Our art instructor, Sandra, has taught us so many things. Really fun drawing the Silvery Blue butterfly today. 

This week your challenge is to look for mammal tracks and traces–this can be anything from holes in the ground to gnaw marks in wood, to shed fur, to piles of seeds–the list goes on. A good place to look for mammal tracks is on the sandy shores of ponds or creeks. If you live in East York, Taylor Creek and the East Don have some sandy low banks. Every morning you can see mink, raccoon, or seagull tracks, if you get there before people walking their dogs. 

Here is something fun to do. Plaster of Paris is available at Home Depot, or a Deserres art store, even better if you already have it on hand. Take some with you in a baggy and a small plastic dish and spoon. Mix up a small amount of the powder to the consistency of a thick soup and pour it into the track. It will take 10 minutes to harden. When you lift it out, you will have a perfect replica of the foot print. Don’t worry if the sand sticks to it–it will brush off. Pour the leftover Plaster of Paris on a leaf–you will get an amazing print of a leaf.

Here is the slide show of Week 8 of our program.

The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.