Today's websites are dedicated to inspiring you to push yourself away from the computer desk, and get outside! Whether in your backyard, a city park or a wilderness area, there are many discoveries to be made. Sharpen your senses and go meet nature.
Start with Jim Conrad's 3 Steps to Discovering Nature. Step One: Identify the plants and animals you find around you. Step Two: Learn something interesting about stuff you've identified. Step Three: Keep a Nature Notebook to record all the things you learn. Other sections deserving of a shout out are Names & Classification (with articles such as "On the Beauty of Scientific Names") and Tools for Backyard Naturalists (with both online and offline resources to help with species identification.)
FieldGuides to more than 5,500 species of animals and plants are the core content here at eNature. Species are searchable by keyword, color, size, region and even zip code! For kid stuff, mouse on over to Fun & Games, where you'll find quizzes (Do you know scat?) and species flash cards to embed on your own website. These flash cards are snippets of code you can paste on your website or blog that will display a photo and a description of an animal. Great for online school reports or just for showing off your favorite animals.
With their Families' Club kit, Nature Explore provides field-tested, research-based nature activities for families, clubs and classrooms. Follow the link at the end of the introduction to download the kit free of charge, or order a low-cost CD if that is easier for you. The kit contains six printable color handouts (for a range of ages) and facilitator's notes for each activity. The outdoor activities require simple supplies (such as crayons and measuring tape) and come with a short list of related children's books and websites.
"Nature turns frowns upside down. Studies indicate that children who play and explore outdoors are less stressed and may further benefit by learning confidence and social skills." To inspire families to go outside, Nature Rocks hosts several tools on their front page. First is an Activity Finder. Enter your child's age, how much time you have (30 minutes, an hour, all day?) and where you are (backyard, neighborhood) and you'll be rewarded with a list of possible activities such as Listen for Bird Sounds or Keep a Flower Tally. The second tool finds outdoorsy events near you, searchable by zipcode.
For high school students and grown ups, Nature Skills provides lots of information about Outdoor Safety, Animal Tracking, Wild Plants & Trees, and more. Learn how to make a bird feeder from a soda bottle (start by clicking on Birds), harvest wild dandelions for tea (look in Wild Foods) or read up on making a primitive shelter without a tent or sleeping bag (find it under Survival.)