A Backyard Nature Study

By Holly Giles | Florida

dandelion at gemini springs florida

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Backyard Nature Study

We were busy today.  Staying on track has been hard this week. I was on drill duty to keep the boys on task, yet a backyard nature study became the day’s focus.
Grant needed a break, so I gave him 20 minutes outside to use his homemade bow. When I went out back to wrangle him in, he had a sad look on his face.  He said couldn’t come back in because he lost one of his arrows.  There was a nice breeze blowing through this Florida heat, so I told him we would look for it together.
As we walked around the yard staring at the grass, Grant discovered a moth. It looked like it had shed its body and wings.  I stumbled upon a dead cicada in perfect form.  Grayson joined in the arrow hunt and found a sandhill crane wing feather.  We began to get excited about all the things we were seeing in the grass! We forgot about the arrow. I found an unusual caterpillar down in the grass eating a weed.  Grayson brought over a bucket and we started a new hunt. This backyard nature study became the highlight of the day.
The moth was a Polyphemus moth that is nocturnal. The cicada is a Swamp Cicada.  We always have Sandhill Cranes walking around by the lake, and finding a feather of any kind is exciting for Grayson, he is our resident birder.
Grant discovered a purple wildflower, to others it may be a weed that pops up when your lawn hasn’t been mowed, but I prefer wildflower. The seed pod came from a magnolia tree. We usually don’t get many flowers because the squirrels chew off the pod, take the seeds, then toss the pod. It can be like bombs dropping on your head sometimes! There was so much to discover in this backyard nature study that was not on the schedule today.
 It is amazing all the things that are right under our feet in the grass every day that we never see. It made me think about my daily walk with Jesus.  How many things has he tried to show me as I scan over my days?
Some days are a blur to just survive motherhood, some have my focus on things of this world.
What if we dedicated complete focus on our walk with Jesus, as we do the other things in our life. What could we discover when we look at one small area, with complete intent. Might it be the answer to a prayer? Maybe we would feel the holy spirit leading you down a path you did not expect?  Or are we scattering our focus on the whole yard and not the blades of grass?

As the breezes flow in your life, I encourage you to take a walk and see what you find!

I offer several scavenger hunts in my book, Blaze New Trails.
The boys even make a popular flower press on Etsy!
nature study
This morning’s diversion of the findings in the grass was definitely a whisper from above. I have had so many things scattering in my head this week, that focusing to be productive has been difficult.  The arrow hunt reminded me that I must take one piece of information at a time, process it, pray about it, and then move on to the next.
We did not find that arrow today. We did linger a little longer in the yard to enjoy the breeze and sunshine. Maybe we will have to take another walk in the grass tomorrow and see what we find!
You may also enjoy our unit study on Outdoor Science.
homeschool science curriculum nature


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.

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