10 Tips for Taking a Nature Walk in Your Backyard


Make it Educational

Looking for a botany lesson? Many backyards are full of fungi.
Looking for a botany lesson? Many backyards are full of fungi.
Photo courtesy NPS.gov/ Jim Pisarowicz

Earth Day isn't the only time to learn about all the natural world has to offer. Of course, if you're considering a backyard nature walk, you probably already know that. A nature walk is the perfect time to get in an intriguing lesson or two.

Do you have flowers in your yard? Get up close -- are there any bees harvesting nectar? That's a perfect time to talk about pollination or the way bees make honey. You can also identify the flower's reproductive parts.

Is there a fruit tree, or a vegetable garden? Wild berries? Mushrooms? You can discuss how everyone used to live off the land, how vegetables start as seeds that require water and sunlight to grow, or what it means for fruit to ripen. You can compare fruits in different stages to see the progression.

Blades of grass, twigs and leaves have components and variations. A magnifying glass or macro-setting camera can reveal those. Rocks aren't just "rocks." They can be quartz, or shale. Talk about how these form underground, with pressure, and how the Earth has layers.

Education is great, and is a natural pairing with a nature walk. But it can't be all there is. There's a more important component for a weekend outing -- far more important if you're being a nature guide for kids.