A great way for kids to connect with nature is through the photography door. You won’t need a big telephoto lens on your camera because sightings of wildlife are infrequent. Any type of digital camera will do, however, a camera with a macro lens (for close-up shots) can be invaluable. If you want to learn more about my experiences as a kid with a camera, go to page 81 of my book Nature Seeker Workbook.
What to do on photography hike.
1. How many kinds of beauty can you find and photograph? You may see beauty in the trunk of a tree; moss on a rock; or a unique-looking insect. The possibilities are endless.
2. Look for patterns in nature: You may find patterns in a group of aspen trees; a cattail marsh; the growth pattern of ferns; or in even in a leaf.
3. Insect photography: From July to first frost, you can get some great photos of butterflies, bees and beetles. If you have macro lens on your camera, it will allow you to get some close-up photos. If you try to photograph butterflies, you’ll need a telephoto lens to get a decent photo. To photograph insects in flight, like bees and butterflies, you’ll need to put your camera on a high speed setting.
4. Nature Notebook: Keeping a nature notebook really helps improve your understanding of nature. I use Microsoft notebook layout. During a nature hike, photograph and take notes on a small notepad of interesting things you find. You may need to look up some of the living things you find in nature guides or online (www.oldnaturalist.com is as good resource). When you writing up your nature notes, include any interesting observations you made or how you felt seeing the object. Also insert your best photos of the subject. If you keep up your nature notebook throughout the seasons, it will be a valuable tool for you.
5. Identifying trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, animal tracks and homes. When you are on a hike photograph, living things that you want to learn more about. Insert them into your nature notebook and look them up in a nature guide or see if you can find them on-line (www.oldnaturalist.com is as good resource.
6. The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources has put together a good photography website for kids that has many activities on it: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/parks_trails/kids/site/index.html It is under Wild Fun Activities and then Xtreme Pix.