Flooded gums, a fig and cicadas – nature studies at Springfield

Having a close inspection of the tree, so it can be found later.

Yesterday I was having fun leading back-to-back nature studies classes with a bunch of homeschooled kids. We were at a delightful bit of parkland near the Orion Lagoon at Springfield, so the kids could combine a dip in the pool with learning all about trees (which was the theme of the day). What a great combination!

We started with a game of ‘find your tree’, and went on to talk all about why we love trees, and what kinds of animals live in them.

Here’s your tree!

Then we did some drawing, and talked about the features of some of the trees we were looking at.

I was drawing along with the kids, as I think it’s really important for them to see that adults do nature journaling too!

Nature journaling at Springfield

We learnt that the Blue Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis is like ice cream to a koala. And here’s Ember’s drawing, complete with koala:

Ember’s drawing (dad helped with the koala)

The little shady fig tree was popular.

Nature studies class at Springfield

The older kids had found a cicada in the pool, so that was drawn too. It was a cherrynose cicada, because of the bright orange markings and the red ‘nose’ or postclypeus. Cicadas feed on the sap of trees, and inside the postcypeus are big muscles to help pump the sap.

The older kids had a go at drawing trees too, including these great flooded gums that were growing along the creek.

Flooded gums at Springfield
Gumnuts of the Flooded Gum, Eucalyptus grandis.

We also explored how to identify eucalypts, with the help of the handy illustrated key provided by the Queensland Herbarium. It covers most of the common species in the greater Brisbane area, and also includes Corymbia and Angophora. You can download a copy here.

Thanks to Amanda Bartle for organizing these sessions at short notice, and also for bringing along a fab tree resources kit from the Queensland Museum. I think ‘Insects’ is the theme of the next session? Yay! One of my favorite subjects šŸ™‚

If you’re interested in the nature studies sessions for kids that I lead, please get in touch via the Contact page. I work with schools, homeschoolers and all sorts of other groups, and am always happy to discuss ideas.

7 Responses

  1. Renee Hills

    What fortunate children to be learning about trees and nature this way!

  2. What a top idea Paula. I hope there’s plenty of interest.

  3. Sue Southwood

    I’ve always thought kids learn better in the environment. Good onya Paula!