Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nature Exchange

This week we visited the Woodland Park Zoo during their Homeschool Days program... I'll have a post soon on that. Before visiting we had learned from a fellow homeschool friend about a program they offer called the Nature Exchange. This is a program where children can bring in items from the natural world, projects on nature or nature journals to share. When a child shares on the item they bring in they can earn points, exchange items or shop for a new item... all nature items of course! They have bins and bins, drawers and drawers of items from natures - fossils, rocks, shells, etc. Tons of stuff! The Nature Exchange also has tables of stuff to explore, books to use, items to learn on and more.

Since we learned of this we brought along Holly's nature journal and so glad we did. When we arrived to the Nature Exchange at the zoo they were not actually taking any exchanges that day rather treating it as an open house for the homeschoolers visiting. However, they came and found us because they decided to take Holly as a demonstration and training for other staff members. Holly participated in her first Nature Exchange!

She sat down with the staff and shared her nature journal. They talked to her about when she uses it, about our Nature Club friends and outings, how she journals and discussed details you can include in a journal. Then they chose a couple of specific pages to discuss in detail with her. Holly decided on her recent salmon pages, salmon habitat and turtle observation pages. They sat with her for about 30 minutes asking her questions on the art work, her observations, what she learned and they looked up more information to teach her. It was awesome!!! They pulled out some books, looked on-line and even brought over some artifacts to share with her that related to her nature journal pages. She *loved* it!

When she was done she had earned (I think) 400 points. You can spend them all or save them up for a special item you'd like to add to your collection. She opted to buy something and save some points as well. Holly chose to buy a Shark Tooth Fossil to add to her fossil collection for 150 points. They bagged it up for her and shared some stickers and a little booklet with her as well. She was in heaven and I am thrilled with the whole experience. We talked about some larger projects she could do in the future and bring in to share. The zoo is far away... but we might have to enjoy it a bit more as this is a great incentive for Holly and right up her alley for interest.

I wished I had taken more photos... but I was so involved in watching her interact with the staff, share and learn. But, I do have a couple of the area and her sharing.

Here she is sharing and deep in discussion with some of the staff.

View of part of the area.

All of these bins & drawers are filled with items to exchange.

They have fantastic displays all over like this to learn from!

Another view - items to learn on or exchange.

Giraffe skull - she loved this!

More goodies... to learn with or exchange.

Her Shark Tooth Fossil she earned!

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