Kids in the Biosphere

Let’s See What Nature We Can Find!

The coast of Georgian Bay is a place where people and nature can live in balance. We believe the more people know about the environment, the more willing they are to protect it. There are so many ways for you to get to know the natural side of Georgian Bay. After all, humans are part of nature too!

Did You Know?

You can upload your cool nature photos to [email protected] and you may see them on our kids web page.

Try to draw or take a picture of each item listed below.

Spring

  • A turtle. This is their most active time of the year. They might be basking in the sun or trying to cross a road.
  • A swarm of mayflies. Many types of insect larvae are emerging from the water now. Mayflies are also called shadflies and only live as adults for one day!
  • A salamander. Salamanders are breeding now in forest puddles from spring rain and snow melt. Slowly scan a vernal pool on your night hike and you might see one.
  • Trout-lily flowers. These are some of the first flowers up in forest areas.
  • American robins. Many people think of spring when they see these birds, but they are just one of many birds migrating back to their summer homes!
  • Fiddleheads. These are immature, coiled-up fern leaves that will spread out in summer.
Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Summer

  • A dragonfly larva. If you look on your dock or other places near water, you might find the dragonfly climbing out of its exoskeleton!
  • A monarch or a viceroy butterfly. Look for a black line crossing the lower part of the wing and running parallel to the bottom edge of the wing. If you see that line, you’ve got a viceroy butterfly!
  • A snake skin, also called a shed.
  • Bats flying. For this one, you will need to have your eyes to the skies at dusk. Try to avoid using your camera’s flash so the bats are not disturbed.
  • A white pine tree. There are five letters in the word “white” and five needles per cluster for the white pine
Dragonfly exuvia

Dragonfly exuvia

Fall

  • A mushroom. The mushroom is only a tiny part of the fungus. Most of a fungus is a network of hyphae (white strands that act like plant roots) looking for nutrients.
  • Colourful leaves. The colour we see in fall is actually in the leaves year-round, but we don’t see it until the green chlorophyll fades.
  • Rocks with bands of colours. Georgian Bay’s rocks were the base of the Grenville Mountains 1.4 billion years ago.
  • A flock of migrating birds. Ducks, gulls and geese are known to migrate in large groups.
  • Goldenrod. This yellow flower is common along roadsides and is important for pollinating insects.
Canadian geese (Branta canadensis)

Canadian geese (Branta canadensis)

Winter

  • A white birch. Easy to recognize all year. The bark peels naturally, but if people peel it, it can kill the tree!
  • Holes left by a woodpecker. The larger the hole, the larger the bird.
  • A beaver lodge. These are much easier to spot in the winter! The beavers are awake in there, waiting for spring.
  • Animal tracks in the snow. You’ll see deer, mice, squirrels, weasels, rabbits and more!
  • A squirrel’s summer home. It looks like a ball of dry leaves up in a tree and is also called a dray.
Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Did You Know?

A monarch butterfly’s wing pattern and colour say “I’m poisonous so don’t eat me.” This is why the viceroy butterfly copies it!

Ready for More?

We have published another Kids in the Biosphere: Four Seasons Activity Book. Packed with hands-on activities to get you outside and exploring. The book invites you to conduct science experiments, take night hikes, build butterfly gardens, record your wildlife sightings and become a junior naturalist!

Activities include spaces to sketch and write, crosswords and puzzles. Everyone is encouraged to send in special pictures of nature discoveries, and an online summer blog will share fascinating facts and allow Biosphere staff to answer your questions. Books are $10 and are for sale at the Biosphere office (11 James Street, Parry Sound) and at other locations. Find more great activities at gbbr.ca/kids

Question #1: True or False? Seven out of eight turtle species in Ontario are species at risk?

True. Only the painted turtle is not at risk

Question #2: Pop Quiz! The only edible fiddlehead belongs to which fern? Hint: it is named after an exotic bird.

The Ostrich fern.

Question #3: True or False? Bats are closely related to mice.

False. Bats are more closely related to humans!

Question #4: True or False? Georgian Bay’s rocks were the base of the Grenville Mountains 100 million years ago.

False. Georgian Bay’s rocks were the base of the Grenville Mountains 1.4 billion years ago!

Question #5: Pop Quiz! What other animals use woodpecker holes?

Depending on the size of the hole: hummingbirds, flying squirrels, red squirrels, bats, insects and more!

Question #6: True or False? Other animals may occasionally share a lodge with a beaver.

True. Muskrats are known to live inside beaver lodges with the beavers.

Next Chapter: State of the Bay Results