Looking for nature activities to do with the family? A great resource is Nature Rocks Austin. They provide lists of many different greenspaces and parks where you can explore nature. They also offer activity ideas, as well as a calendar of events all over the Austin area. Click on the events to get location and other information.
Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
What a fantastic Earth Week we had at Caraway this past week! Kids and teachers all donning crazy sunglasses, far-out socks and shoes, super-creative hats made of trash and recycling, and green shirts for our spectacular Green Ribbon theme week designed to celebrate this wonderful planet we call Earth. But that’s not all — classes have been doing making fabulous posters to talk about recycling, caring for the Earth, and more. Check out some of the scenes around school, and stay tuned for pics of some of our super-green kids!
Happy Earth Week! All week long we are having a special Green celebration at Caraway!
Monday, April 18: Wear sunglasses or crazy sunglasses: be on the lookout for ways to go green!
Tuesday, April 19: Wear crazy socks or shoes to kick out waste!
Wednesday, April 20: Wear a hat made of recycled materials. “Hats off to recycling” – we’re having a parade of hats!
Thursday, April 21: Wear a green shirt, and bike or walk to school if you can!
Friday, April 22: NO SCHOOL, but it’s Earth Day! Do something special for the environment with your family!
We’ll have our special Green OWL shirts on sale all week long in the morning near the main door. $10 each – child and adult sizes are available!
Thank you to all our classes participating in the HEB paper bag decorating for Earth Day. Your artwork and messages about protecting our planet are wonderful! And a big thanks to all of Girl Scout Troop 116 for organizing and running this activity! Here are a few of the many excellent bags given back to HEB for them to share with their customers.
Celebrate our wildlife friends and how you can protect them — whether they run, slither, hop, swim, crawl, or fly. Have a safe spring break, everyone, and be sure to get outdoors as much as possible!
March 14-20, 2011
FYI, there are some great links for kids at the National Wildlife Federation page — check them out for fun activities to do at home! Fun for kids
Saturday, March 5, 2011
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Come learn all about the amazing birds you see everyday and why we want to celebrate them in our city. Fun activities for the entire family including bird walks, live bird demonstrations, citizen science bird counts, kids bird drawing, expert lectures, hands-on kids activities and more.
• Beginner Bird Walk – 9:30 at Stratford Drive
• 10-minute Urban Bird Count- Collect data for Cornell Lab of Ornithology
• Bird Scavenger Hunt Activity – Win Prizes!
• Kids Craft Activity – Bird viewers
• Kids Bird Drawing Activity & Art Contest
• Naturalist Workshop Trade Counter
• Bird of Prey Demonstration
• Bird Comparisons with Live Birds
• Bird Story Time & Short Story Contest
• Expert Bird Talks
Additional Events for Celebrating Urban Birds!
Camacho Activity Center- Bird Counts and Paddling
Dougherty Arts Center – Bird Introductions
Zilker Botanical Garden – 10 Minute Bird Counts
Barton Springs Bathhouse – Pigeon Watch
Elisabet Ney Museum – Meet an Owl
Mexican American Cultural Center – Crafting a Bird Mural
O.Henry Museum – Birds inside Stories and Songs
Per the Austin Water newsletter:
Green Garden Festival
If you can’t wait for spring, then the Green Garden Festival is for you. One of the earliest garden events in Austin, Green Garden features seven City departments who will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. And it’s free!Come on out to Zilker Botanical Gardens (2220 Barton Springs Road) on Sunday, February 27 from noon-4:00 pm (rain or shine).
Learn how to have a beautiful yard while conserving and protecting our air and water, conserving energy and recycling waste.
Get current information from Grow Green, Water Conservation, Green Building, Composting, Wildlife Austin!, Air Quality, Tree Preservation, Climate Protection, Community Gardens and Dillo Dirt. Enjoy a talk by John Dromgoole, a very popular Kids’ Corner, demonstrations on how to compost, build a rain barrel or a rain garden, rebate information, fertilizer/pest control tips, Austin-friendly plants, plus displays by 12 other area gardening groups and lots more.
Back in October, our Kindergarteners had a fun time Seed Stomping wildflower seeds into our future meadow area, but of course, it takes time for the seeds to germinate. So it hasn’t looked very different for awhile. And then this past Wednesday, a team arrived to do something wonderful… build us a new wildflower fence and more!
A group of 12 Partners for Fish & Wildlife USFW biologists and fire crew personnel from the Balcones Canyonlands Refuge volunteered their entire day to come out and build a fence around our wildflower meadow area. As difficult as the building of a fence might sound, now imagine doing it in very unforgiving earth, with limestone rock just inches below the surface. After much pondering on the best method of attack on the worst of that rock, we opted for a pneumatic jackhammer, operated by compressed air.
And boy, was it loud! Since the jackhammer could only be used on one hole at a time, the rest of the team used the various tools we borrowed from Keep Austin Beautiful to work on other holes. I’m sure the crew is still numb and sore after their long day of jackhammering, using the manual rock breaker and post-hole diggers, and mixing cement. They managed to get all 30 holes (30!) more than 18 inches deep, despite the rock in the way. Willpower and manpower and muscle power were all required.
Off in the soccer woodlands, the fire crew pulled out their chain saws to fell Ligustrums (both Japanese and Wax-Leaf), and weed wrenches were used to pull out Nandinas. Japanese Ligustrum looks similar to our native Yaupons, but don’t be fooled — it’s very invasive!
The biggest tree was a Wax-Leaf Ligustrum, and it was probably the mother source of many of the other Ligustrums in the woods.
Some of our young students at school wondered why our crew was working in the woodlands, but rest assured the only plants removed were “bad” trees that were harmful to our habitat! All the natives — Ashe Junipers, Yaupons, and more — are safe — actually safer than ever now that the invasive plants are gone. We’ll still want to check for any exotic plants that we might have missed — but I think it’s safe to say that we’re winning the battle against the exotics.
Back at the wildflower meadow, once the holes were finished, the posts were distributed and secured with cement.
The final step involved attaching the rails across the posts.
Due to technical difficulties, there wasn’t enough time to finish the remaining rails, so our district maintenance team is going to help us finish the job, so thank you in advance to them!
During the day, our Kindergarteners came out to cheer on the USFW team working on “their” wildflower meadow (the K classes have a very special attachment to the meadow, since they seeded it). As a special surprise, they also created beautiful thank-you notes to share with all the team. I wish I could show all the cards — they were so special and heart-warming!
The new fence will help protect and define our wildflower meadow. It will take a few years for the wildflowers to establish, but the rustic fence is going to make it all the more beautiful when the flowers are there. Our students will benefit from this new outdoor classroom for years and years to come, as will all the wildlife that comes to visit.
Thank you to the entire USFW team for all that you have done and continue to do for Caraway Elementary. Our partnership with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has enabled us to get our new rain tank, Purple Martin gourd system, and habitat benches, as well as many habitat projects still to come. And this wonderful crew on Wednesday made our wildflower fence dream a reality, and we are absolutely thrilled and so very grateful.
By the way, cheers to our Green Team members who supplied food and drinks and other support for the crew. Everything was delicious!
USFW, we love our fence!
I shared this info with the Green Team and then realized that I really should post it all here, too! Let me start by once again saying, “Happy New Year!”
Let’s take a moment to reflect on all that was accomplished in 2010. This list is long, and we have much to be proud of! From January to December 2010, we saw:
- The creation of our native Texas demonstration wildlife habitat, the OWL;
- Beautiful and educational class wildlife habitat murals, gifted to the community;
- A special Earth Day ceremony with many distinguished guests;
- Special recognition for our Watt Watchers;
- New native plants in the Girl Scout garden, as well as a new Eagle Scout bed, complete with rain barrels;
- A new garden for our PPCD students, created by one of our Girl Scout troops for their Bronze award;
- Recycling at our Carnival by other Girl Scouts for their Bronze award;
- Removal of many, many invasive plants from our school grounds and woodlands
- New habitat trail through our front woods, created by an Eagle Scout and his dedicated team
- New native plants along the front of the school and in our woodlands
- Special new Green T-shirts, showing just how green we are
- A new seeded wildflower meadow
- A new 5,000-gallon rain tank
- A new dedicated garden shed
- New benches in the OWL
- New Purple Martin Gourd System
- A special ReCycle/ReGift camp before the holidays
- Green Kids all over Caraway, with amazing artwork and other projects
- A new Green Team blog
I want to thank all who contributed volunteer time to make all these wonderful events happen for Caraway and to give special cheers to those who went above and beyond in their volunteering and support. We are also grateful for all the donations offered by our families, faculty, neighbors, and community members, as well as our USFW, Home Depot, and Wildflower Center grants that made many of our projects possible.
There is lots to look forward to in the spring of 2011, including:
- New mosaic artwork for our benches
- Possible participation in One World competition
- New planting beds along our Kindergarten/1st-grade wing
- New cedar fencing to officially surround our wildflower meadow
- An Earth Day event for the whole school to participate in
- The special painting of our rain tank and shed (as a graffiti preventative and do show off student art)
- Removal of more invasives and the planting of more native trees
- New stepping stones for our wildflower meadow
- New outdoor signs and garden labels for our OWL, woodlands, and other areas
I know I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s because I’m overwhelmed with all the good things going on at Caraway!
Please stay tuned for more information about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Looking forward to a great 2011 for Caraway and all its green happenings!
Now’s the time to register for the Savvy Kids Conference on November 20, at Concordia University (off of 620). This Family EXPO and Kids Conference is great fun for elementary school kids. There are lots of different activities, entertainment, kid workshops, Expo booths, and food — your kids AND you will become super savvy! Check it out!
And adults are FREE at the Expo — you only need to register your kids!
By the way, yours truly will be one of the National Wildlife Federation presenters — learn more about wildlife habitats with me at our workshops!