Urban Nature Walk

I grew up in Oregon with this guy, a future conservationist and wildlife aficionado, and a dad with a Ph.D. in Zoology.  So, naturally, “nature walks” were a big part of childhood for my brother and I.  As we walked, we would identify plants and animals using wildlife guides.  We also searched for animal tracks in the dirt and guessed which animals made them.  And, every year at the county fair, we entered a contest where all different types of leaves would be laid out across a long table.  Each plant had its own number, and we identified as many as we could.  I’m sure prizes, or at least ribbons involved.  But I remember doing it solely for the glory of winning – or at least besting my last year’s results.

A Nature Walk in the City

Now that I have my own kids I want them to be able to experience nature as I once did. Paul and I want that to be a part of their childhood.  But we live in Chicago, not a small town in Oregon.  Nature is not as close to home. Still, we recently took the kids on a nature walk at North Park Village Nature Center.  One of the cool things we saw was sap was being collected for maple syrup.  After checking out the small museum inside, we wandered around the nature center.   Just like old times, we wound up soaked and covered in mud by the end of our short nature walk. Before we left, the kids explored a bird blind fitted with paintings of the various types of birds that we might see (or hear) there.

It was such a fun little excursion. And, it reminded me that it’s not that difficult to experience nature right here in Chicago. In fact, I’m sure there are lots of nearby places to take an urban nature walk.  Even more if we are willing to drive a short distance.  Do you live in a City? If so, where do you take your children to experience nature? Where are their favorite spots? How do they interact with nature?

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