A nature walk through 4-year old eyes

Walks to a nearby pond are regular occurrences on days my granddaughter visits. After watching me take a photo of a plant I wanted to identify, Avery asked if she could take some photos. The result … our nature walk through 4-year old eyes.

It’s easy to forget how 4-year-olds mimic the actions of their elders, until one does exactly what she observed.

First, I took a shots of this wildflower growing around the upward slope near the pond. When we returned home and scrolled through the online photos at the Connecticut Botanical Society website we identified this as Virginia mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum virginiamum).

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Then Avery decided she wanted to play photographer. But first, we had to untangle her feet from a long, long strand of discarded fishing line … a hazard for human walkers and wildlife alike.

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She was very proud of our efforts, so this was the subject of her first photo.

Avery, with camera in hand, saw Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) growing at the base of the footbridge.

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This one had yet to bloom, but those growing nearby had dainty orange and yellow blossoms.

Avery thought the bridge Grandpa built was pretty cool, so she took a photo.

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And she really likes her boots. “They keep my feet nice and dry,” she declared.

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We spotted Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) growing next to the pond. Naturally, Avery took her shot.

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Beavers used to live in this pond. They built a nice lodge (barely visible in the upper left corner above) along the bank and created a small dam along the pond outlet to insure the water would remain deep enough for them to survive. (See a previous post with photos of the lodge and dam.)  But someone came along and dismantled the small dam, and the beavers moved  to a different pond down the road where they seem very happy and don’t have to deal with as much human intervention.

While living in our pond, the beavers gnawed down many small trees, most of which were invasive Autumn Olive. Their work allowed sunlight to reach more of the pond’s edges. The result is more blooming wildflowers than I’ve seen there in years.

Avery’s lens shows the unoccupied lodge, vegetation will soon totally hide it from view.

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We miss watching how the beavers re-designed the area. As Avery’s walking stamina increases we may wander farther away to see the beavers’ new home but, for now, we’ll enjoy the sites nearby like this very cool and other-worldly looking sculpture that caught our attention.

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Mum-Mum took the camera to capture this Common Dodder (Cuscuta gronovii), which we learned is a native in Connecticut.

What Avery’s camera lens did not catch in focus – she is still learning to hold the camera still – was Eastern Joe-Pye-weed (Eupatorium dubium) growing along the un-mowed edges of the pond. In the mowed field we saw Pale hawkweed Hieracium x floribundum (Pilosella x floribunda), and very short specimens of wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria). Normally wild indigo will grow 1-3 feet tall. In the mowed field it is pushing out delicate yellow flowers just below the mower blade’s reach … a perfect place for an inquisitive 4-year-olds view.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If Avery had her way every flower we saw would be picked and brought home, but she readily accepted the explanation that we should leave most so they can grow into seeds for next year’s blossoms.

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6 comments for “A nature walk through 4-year old eyes

  1. Frances
    July 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    What a great way to spend time with your granddaughter, Joene. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. (And, I love those boots!) 🙂

    • July 30, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Francis, I’m hoping she will pick up my love and appreciation of plants, nature, and the great outdoors. I’d be thrilled if she shares my love of gardening, but either way she is a great companion.

  2. July 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    What a wonderful post! It’s hard to believe Avery is 4 already. Spending time with a child does make you quickly realize how blind we are to so much that’s going on around us.

    • July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks, Debbie. Glad you enjoyed this post. It is hard to believe she is four already!

  3. July 31, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I am absolutely jealous of your wonderful little student — she’s learning about plants and nature and photography and soaking it all up like the little sponge that 4 year olds are.

    And she is already a pretty good photographer! I’m still waiting for grandchildren, but mine will be 3,000 miles away if I ever do have them. Still, the chance to see nature through the eyes of a child will be priceless. Loved this post through Avery’s lens!!

    • July 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Laurrie, I’ll be sure to post more of our nature walks and her photos, but don’t be jealous … just enjoy! I’m fortunate to have a tough camera Avery can use and practice with.

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