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Thus begins our year-long study.  I’ve roped my intrepid mother into it as well!  She is passionate about nature and will be able to help her hapless daughter answer questions to which she herself has no reply (ie most nature related questions!)  So at 9am last Monday morning with all our chores finished, we ventured forth, noisy and enthusiastic to reach our destination just down the lane:
T is pushing B2 in her pushchair with A4 standing on the back.  My lovely mum is in blue

T is pushing B2 in her pushchair with A4 standing on the back. My lovely mum is in blue

And this is what we greeted with.  It's a hard life...

And this is what we greeted with. It’s a hard life…

Monday’s foray to the pond was more about discussing what we were going to do, which tree we might want to study for a year, the best place to test the water and so forth.  C10, who loves to draw and write, made notes and drew a lovely picture of the Mandarin duck which currently resides in our pond.  T11 loves to take photos, so he clicked away to his heart’s content and L10 simply observed-she had plans on the return home.

I tried to capture the pond and its residents:

You can see the gulls in the distance, paddling around in an unfrozen part of the pond, whilst the Mallards waddled and slipped their way across the frozen parts

You can see the gulls in the distance, paddling around in an unfrozen part of the pond, whilst the Mallards waddled and slipped their way across the frozen parts

And the Mandarin duck but only managed a photo from the distant:

It was this colourful duck that C10 was busy drawing and L10 was quietly pondering.

It was this colourful duck that C10 was busy drawing and L10 was quietly pondering.

We chose a tree for our year-long study and got off to a great start as none of us, not even mum could identify it!

We brought home a small branch with some buds to help identify it.  Next week we intend to take a bark rubbing

We brought home a small branch with some buds to help identify it. Next week we intend to take a bark rubbing

We left it at that and journeyed the short distance home.  Whilst I was busy putting B2 down for a nap, I could hear much industry going on in the living room.  T11 had picked up feathers and a beautiful leaf and had put them up on a display board (no photos, I’m afraid), whilst L10 did an impromptu presentation on the Mandarin duck:

L10 presenting on the Manderin duck

L10 presenting on the Mandarin duck

Whilst I schooled A4 the children enthusiastically attacked the task of collaging the rather bare cover of the A2 art pad, which was to be our family pond study journal for the year.  I gave them some photocopies and a nature book I knew we would never use to cut and paste.  It reminded me of when I was a teenager-I did this to all my photo albums outside and in!

C10 and L10 busy beavering away!

C10 and L10 busy beavering away!

And the final product:

Our Family Pond Study Journal

Our Family Pond Study Journal

We collected the few bits and bobs T11 had brought home and pressed them in our flower press.  We would try to identify the leaf once it was flat and before we stuck it in the journal:

Feathers and a gorgeous leaf waiting to be pressed

Feathers and a gorgeous leaf waiting to be pressed

Once everything was dry (the journal), and flat(the feathers and leaf) we gathered notes, pictures, developed photos and began making our page for the month of March.  There are 15 pages in the book and we have decided to make one double-sided page per month.  With the extra sheets at the back, we will include tables and graphs of the water ph, maybe some weather charts and tree pictures (and anything else we might think of later on).  We’re already looking forward to next Monday!

Science Sunday