Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Stories

Who doesn't love a snow day? It's a great time to hibernate indoors playing games and drinking hot cocoa. Or, better yet, you could bundle up and take those rowdy little ones outside to find some snow stories! All this fresh powder is the perfect blank slate on which nature can write its stories in the snow. While many of Wisconsin's critters have been hunkering down to weather out this storm, you might be surprised at all the signs of life you can find if you take a look.

"Mouse Trail," Photo Credit: Brenna Holzhauer, Nature Net

Can you tell where your backyard bunny was able to find some food? Have the birds been hopping through the snow or staying high up in the trees? Is that family of deer traveling together or did some stay snuggled at home? The field mice are sure to be busy tunneling through the drifts - can you find them? Are those prints from a neighbor's dog or possibly a hungry coyote? If you can tell what direction the squirrel was scurrying from, you might be able to find where she uncovered this morning's acorn feast.

Check out this activity guide from the Wisconsin DNR for more ideas of what to look for. If you're not sure what you've spotted, use this Tracking Field Guide from UWSP. This recent article from JS Online - Outdoors may inspire you with some great tales of tracking winter wildlife. If you are looking to venture out, many of these Nature Net members or other Wisconsin sites have some excellent trails for your family to explore. Whatever you find, be sure to record your observations in Earth Alive!

So on this snow day, bundle up and beat cabin fever with some good old-fashioned tracking, and see what stories you can find in the snow!

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