Categories
Earth Science

Mountains and the Water Cycle: the rain shadow effect explained

A short bonus post here! After writing two posts about the water cycle (how it works and how humans effect it), I still felt like there was more to write. I owed it to the wonderful mountains where I live, to touch on the important role of mountains in the water cycle. In this mini […]

Categories
Earth Science

How Humans Affect the Water Cycle, a Complete Guide

In a rush? Skip directly to download the learning activity for this post! In part one of this two-part post on the water cycle, we learned how the water cycle makes life possible for land-dwelling plants and animals, including humans. The water cycle provides the constant source of freshwater that we need to survive. The […]

Categories
Sustainability and Conservation

Aquatic Ecosystems: How to tell if a pond, stream, or wetland is healthy

This is part 2 of a two-part post on aquatic ecosystems. If you haven’t already, check out part 1! In a rush? Click here to go straight to the printable scavenger hunt! In my last post, I shared my experience working as a science technician studying aquatic ecosystems like streams, ponds, and wetlands. These water […]

Categories
Ecology

The Heart of an Ecosystem: Healthy ponds, streams, and wetlands

In a rush? Click here to go straight to the printable journaling page for kids! This week, my students and I took a field trip to a local creek. Getting outside to make observations in nature is one of my favorite hands-on ways to learn about science and the natural world! Ponds, creeks, and wetlands […]

Categories
Earth Science

The Water Cycle: How it works, a simple and detailed explanation with definitions, diagrams, and a visualization activity!

Author’s note: As a master’s student who works with water, this one is an exciting topic for me to write about! Water is a vital resource that needs careful management in the Mountain West region of the United States. Mountain region watersheds are expected to face climate change-related challenges due to decreasing winter snowpack, changing […]

Categories
Sustainability and Conservation

My Wonderful, Wild Backyard and Ways to Improve Your Yard’s Wildlife Habitat

In a rush? Click here to skip straight to the backyard wildlife bingo download! With the first signs of spring appearing, many of us are looking forward to spending more time enjoying our outdoor living spaces. Spring also means the beginning of yardwork season and time to start new projects in the yard or garden. […]

Categories
Amazing Wildlife

Five Amazing Alpine Animals to Spot Above Tree Line

In the Rocky Mountains, tree line is around 11,000 to 12,000 feet (3,350 to 3,650 meters) above sea level! Tree line means the elevation where conditions are too harsh for trees to grow, due to low temperatures, high winds, or other environmental factors. For humans, traveling above tree line while hiking, skiing, or mountaineering is […]

Categories
General

An Invitation

Welcome fellow nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Welcome backyard naturalists, kitchen table scientists, life-long learners. Welcome fellow wonderers and wanderers. I’m glad to see you here. My name is Valerie and I’m a scientist, artist, and avid outdoors woman currently in Colorado, USA. My curiosity about the natural world started at a young age, exploring […]