Category Archives: field trip

Guana River State Park Field Trip

Once again I forced my Biology student on a field trip to Guana River State Park,  but is really called Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.  It was a perfect day to take the mile long hike to the river.  High was 78 degrees, sunny, breezy, and oh so georgous.


Here we are heading out on our one mile hike to the river.  Mixed in this group are the Biology students, Photography Students, Siblings, and The Awesome Parents.  Love having the parents come along.    This photo was taken by Jen Mauser of A Knittery Life.

2015-04-23 018

The youngest of the group lead the way.  But there were many stops before we arrived at the river.  So much to see.

2015-04-23 009

And photos to take.

2015-04-23 014

At the river, everyone heads to the rocks to take in the view.  The place is just beautiful.

2015-04-23 031

Photography students were to take photos of anything they wanted to.  My daughter, who is in the photography class and my Biology class, thought taking photos was optional. :/

The Biology students were to fill out a worksheet I had made for them.  They were to find, identify, and sketch three different trees, water plants, birds, amphibians, and record if they found anything  hadn’t listed on the worksheet.

The students took off….

Beach to the right.2015-04-23 037

Beach to the left.  And sunshine all around.

2015-04-23 040

Jen Mauser and I took off after some lunch and came across raccoon tracks.  That is Jen’s shadow below.  Looks just like her!

2015-04-23 041

Once we returned to the starting point, my daughter realized photography wasn’t optional, so she took a few photos of a different kind of wild life. 😀

2015-04-23 050

2015-04-23 051

I didn’t know she was also taking pictures of me.   We are also doing an insect board and most of the students brought something to collect insects in.  Here I am with a student trying to catch a flying creature.

2015-04-23 057

It was a great day all around.  The two classes worked well together and everyone enjoyed themselves.  This is one of my favorite places to be. 🙂

Come back tomorrow to find out what we did find.

A Hunting We Will Go…

One of the big projects I have the Biology students do for months is insect collecting.   All students are required to obtain, classify, and pin to a board 30 insects.

This project is announced early in the year, so the kids can start looking.  Here in Florida it is usually easy to find insects, so I do not accept the excuse that they couldn’t find any.  Really? In Florida!

To help with the hunt, I took the students on an optional Field Trip to a local park.  This park is known for its bugs, except for this day. :/

Camp Tomahawk 001

Here is the group heading down the path.   As you can see, this looks like it would be a great place for a hunt.

Camp Tomahawk 004

We looked high and low and found only iddy biddy bugs.  These bugs were so small we had to put them in bags to pin them to the board.

Here I am trying to coax a few critters to give up their life for the insect board.  It didn’t work.  Yeah, they knew we were coming…

On a brighter note, I am sporting my new day pack, Osprey Sirrus 24 in Summit Blue.  It is bright for my outdoor adventures, but it was the only pack that would fit me.  Ignore the ugly pink shirt.

Camp Tomahawk 012

We get to a bridge and I want a group picture.  While posing a bug flies into our vicinity.  One student takes advantage of the situation.

Camp Tomahawk 025The bug tries to escape by flying from a student’s face to my face.  The student in the hat, does not give up and doesn’t care he is about to smack his teacher in the face to get the insect.  Since I love students who don’t give up, I can handle the smack. 😀

Camp Tomahawk 026

Finally!  Bug in jar and photo taken.  Hooray!

Camp Tomahawk 028

Even though this was a moderately unsuccessful bug hunt, the trip as really nice. The weather was great, the kids had fun, the flowers are pretty, and I got to wear my new pack. Thumbs up all around. 😀

Camp Tomahawk 036

Get outside!

A Field Trip to the Vatican

Not really.

The Violinist and her classmates are studying the Middle Ages and the Catholic faith .  Their facilitator thought it would be much cheaper to visit Buca di Beppo restaurant instead of paying airfare to the Vatican.   The moms agreed.

We arrived a little early and just waited out in the parking lot.  There were statues around the building and each one was wrapped in large Christmas lights.  While waiting, I was able to take a photo of  The Violinist without her going into a royal fit.

The facilitator requested The Pope’s Room.  This little room sits twelve.  Perfect for us.  The round wooden thing in the middle that is holding a bust of  the Pope, is a large Lazy Susan.    Notice the walls.

I really liked the menu and thought it was funny enough to take a photo.  That should be me on the front cover.  lol

I wanted to take a picture of how they served the pizza.  They placed the long pizza stones on top of tall tomato cans.  I thought that was clever.  After taking the picture, I noticed it looks like they are serving the Pope’s head on a tray.  Poor guy.

One of the doorways going through the restaurant is painted like Italy’s flag.  You can see the map on the left.  Notice the walls.

The Ladies Powder Room.  Notice the walls.   One of these young girls said, “Look! While you’re going to the bathroom, you get to look at someone’s naked butt!”    I decided that wasn’t a restaurant I was going to bring my youngest daughters to, just yet.

Remember all the walls?  There is not one free space on any walls or ceiling in that restaurant.   We spent 20 minutes after the meal, just looking around.  Thankfully, The Violinist wasn’t too interested in looking carefully.

The class was given chef hats.

Afterwards, they got goofy.

It was a really fun day and the pizza was wonderful!

A Stakeout

Last Sunday we visited  GUANA TOLOMATO MATANZAS NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE or   Guana River State Park for the short version.

I needed to stakeout the place, because my Biology students will be taking a field trip there next month.  The students will have a list of items they need to look for and I want to make sure they won’t come back with “I couldn’t find anything” .   If I can find it and name it, then so can they.   😀

My son and I went last year with his Biology class.  We had a really good time and the weather was just beautiful.   The grass was green, there were flowers, all kinds of insects and other animals.  But when we visited last Sunday, the weather was cold, windy, and the grass was not green.  We didn’t see any birds and very little wildlife. I am hoping by April things will have changed.

First things first, we cover ourselves in bug spray.  Ever since The Violinist got covered in seed ticks,  we make sure we don’t hike without bug spray.  We use an organic kind from the health food store.

We head on down the trail, which is a one mile hike to the river.

I am looking for different foliage and animal life.

Oh look one lonely little flower.  This proves if you just stop and look around you’ll find wonderful things in God’s world.

We make it to the beach and hang out there for a while.  It was so windy, but just beautiful!

It was a lovely day!

The students in my class should have no problem finding what is on their list.  I’ll post about this list later.

Views from Blue Springs

Looking down the spring.

Blue Springs

Manatee mother and pup.

Manatee and pup

Another mother and pup.

Manatee and pup

A big one resting at the bottom of the spring.  They can rest up t0 20 minutes under water.

A big one.

A whole family resting at the bottom. We saw four of these groups during our visit.

Group resting

The dark line going across the bottom of the springs is a cave. It is the source of the spring water.

Blue Springs

More photos coming up.

Mushroom Hunting

Be very, very quiet. We are hunting mushrooms.  There is nothing like going out and looking for macroscopic decomposers. 😀

For Apologia Biology Module 4:  Kingdom Fungi, the students were to go on a nature walk and gather mushrooms. Since I try to do all the experiments before class, I also went out on a walk.   My youngest decided she needed to help with the hunt.  Good thing she did, because she found more than half of them and declared herself the winner.  I didn’t know it was a contest at the time. 🙂

Walking down a road

At first the shrooms were hard to find.  Our rain had stopped for several days and the ground wasn’t as wet as a mushroom likes it.  After a few minutes of walking and looking The Pea started finding lots of them.


Flat Mushrooms

I have no idea the names of any of these mushrooms.

Group of Mushrooms


It was so much fun to take one of my children on a walk to look for some of God’s creation.


The ones above were from my backyard. They were so small.

I spotted the ones below, before my daughter did and I asked her if I should gather them for the experiment. She told me they were not real, but then turned around and asked if they were. She just wasn’t sure. LOL

Fake ones

I wish I could have taken the ones above to the classroom. It would have been a good laugh.

By the end of the walk, we found around 15 mushrooms. Twelve of those, were found by my daughter. 🙂

Bag 'O Mushrooms

I saved most of them for the classroom, but I did take two out and had a look-see. I never did find any spores on the gills.


After observing the mushrooms, the experiment said to draw what you see. As you can see, I am no artist.


I really did enjoy doing this part of the experiment. It is amazing to see God’s work.

Next up will be what we did in the classroom.

Nature Walk

A Hen House

For years I have been trying to get Sir Husband to build me a hen house. Every year he says no. So every year, I try to visit a friend’s hen house to covet.

We went to visit one last week. This is my favorite hen house so far. It is just the right size.

hen house

There is three hen boxes and a feed trough on one side.

hen boxes

There are five hens and a rooster. We can’t have a rooster, but six hens would be so nice.


The girls got to collect the eggs.

collecting eggs

Two browns and one white. I guess two of the ladies didn’t feel like laying eggs that day.


Next to the hen house is the garden. My friend did say that the garden needed some tending too. I still liked it and I really like the fence for the tomato stakes.


Oh to have a hen house filled with hens laying fresh eggs every day for me to eat for breakfast. Maybe one day…


Not really, but we do have shark teeth!

Last Saturday, we took the girlies to the beach.     We spent a little time collecting shells and looking for shark teeth.   It was mid-morning, so we didn’t think we would find any teeth. Usually, you have to get there in the wee hours of the morning.

This time the good Lord blessed us with 13 shark teeth! These are very tiny.

sharks teeth

Most of these are from the Lemon Shark. The triangle one on the lower left is from a Great White. The very tiny teeth might be from a Whale Shark. They are useless teeth, because the Whale Shark feeds on microscopic things.

When I was in high school, we went to the beach on a field trip. I found a huge Great White Shark’s tooth. It measured a good inch wide and over an inch long. I remember the teacher asking if he could have it, and I wouldn’t give it to him. lol I have since lost it, but I wonder if it wasn’t taken. It was in my dresser for a long time.

Here is some of the collection we already have.

more shark's teeth

The largest tooth we have is the upper right one. It is from a Tiger Shark.   The tooth that is second from the left on the bottom, is a broken Great White tooth.  Guess where we found it.

The Jacksonville Zoo

My daughter had a field trip to the Jacksonville Zoo and I decided to take The Peas and tag along.  Dd#1 rule was, I and The Peas could go, but could not follow dd#1 and her class around.  I agreed because that would be really embarrassing!  I don’t think I could handle all those people staring at me, while I was with my oldest daughter.   I shudder just thinking about it.

Here is a duck.


Here is a bird.


I don’t remember what these birds are called. Maybe BS can help me out here. Anyhoo, they are not actually part of the zoo. They have made their home here on their own, which is pretty cool. These birds are endangered, but you can’t tell it be all the nests with babies.

Here are a couple of baby birds. They are looking at me. I just know.

baby birds

Here are some turtles.


Here is their newest addition. Komodo Dragons. I was disappointed in the display. I thought they would be A LOT bigger. Big enough to swallow a whole pig, which is what I wanted to see. These look like over grown lizards.

komodo dragons

This is the new Asian Area. The zoo had made everything really pretty and nice. It use to be just cement and chain-link fences. Now it is a lovely place to visit, except when it is hot and before noon, when all school children are there.

Asian area

In one section of the zoo, is a nice play area for little people. One of the ways you can get to it, is by walking through a maze. This maze is only for children and the way in is about four feet high. The Peas wanted to walk through there. I said SURE! It would be a chance for them to get lost.

Well, it didn’t work. This is how high the maze was. I could see them and they could see me at all times. Also the maze was just a straight line with one little curve in it. Someone needs to go back to maze school, if you ask me.


It turned out to be a great day.  I am sure we will be going back soon.  Maybe I’ll let dd#1 follow me around.

A Flower From The Zoo

Side View



Front view.


I don’t know what it is.