Become ABecome A WWinter Inter Wildlife Detective PDF

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Inside: Guide to Winter Tracks!PREMIEREISSUE!-·-.rr-"'--.,,---Become aWinterWinterWildlifeDetective!-

You’llabou also learntwin Ne hat kidsState w York,you, just likeare doingto helpthenvironm eent.Inspageesethlearn gll’unyoplorixetabou greatthe in Newoorsoutd k State.YorPlease let us know how you like Conservationist for Kids. Also, tell us what you’re doing to helpthe environment. We’ll share some of your ideas and experiences with readers in future issues.1www.cforkids.orgPhoto montages by DEC

You’re about to become aYou’reW inter Wildlife DetectiveWinterSo dress for the outdoors,grab your supplies, andyou’re on your way!Watch forffutsgibethSupply Libackpst:amagn ckpencilifyingsglasscamerabinocwa -,r''(ulamnoteb rscc/otnir,glothinookg& footwear&f?JolwearWatchall around you formovement on the ground orin the branches. Your eyes aloneare a great tool, but binoculars canhelp too. Binoculars help you to seethings far away, making themappear closer than theyreally are.droceRapeKekeepstectiveeddor sheA goat he o urhwfotrackng yoring alo hapsbos,sperfindk, andoobetecordnora, to ra cameBringdings.infruoybookide (augldieboutafation a s)mrofwith inobjectaturaln,ginytebookidentifour ttoe downitrwnandyou car heard uroneesGet upout yoyou’veghts ab makeuohtrclose to objects oryouu canries. Yo’vecrouch down to the grounddiscove of things yousethfor a closer look. If you have aho os.sketcpe in patroyoumagnifying glass, you can take anseenruler so s.agnloeven closer look. Look for tracks inrackBring aasure tthe snow and places where animalscan meSearchfor thesmall stuffhave been eating.LIS TENndsayLiThomas D.roreeDrabbit ings?munchThomas D. Lindsay----SquirreltracksA jaybluepicsaynd. LiBill Ivyas DtasfkaeBrhom Tncil,e a peTip: Us case it’s too tojust in r your pen erly.cold fo write propPRACTICE FOCUSING INON NATURAL SOUNDS.Can you hearchickadees calling?The crunch of snowunder foot?The wind rattlingice-coveredbranches? Thomas D. Lindsay2

Watching for.To survive winter, animals must be able tokeep warm and find food and water. If they can’t,they must adapt—change their habits to suit theconditions. Some animals migrate—move to a newarea where it’s easier to find food and stay warm.Others hibernate and sleep the cold months away.FeedingDITwigs bitten away hint thatrabbits or deer have beenby. Take a closer look at thebite. Are the twigs one totwo feet from the groundcleanly bitten off at anangle? A rabbit has beeneating. If the twig is bittenoff but the cut is jagged, it’s froma deer. (Deer tear twigs offas they bite.) Once in a while youmay fnd a spot of blood where oneanimal has caught another. On veryrare occasions, you may even fndthe “leftovers” from a meal. A bitof fur or feathers, or some other part of the prey (animalthat is killed and eaten by another animal), left behindwhen the predator (animal that kills and eats otheranimals) was scared away or had its fll.3A great place to look fortracks is near a bird feeder. Birdssometimes hop in the snow underthe feeder. Squirrels, mice and volesvisit too, often eating the seedsthat have fallen to the ground.Bill Banaszewski Most insects spend thewinter as eggs or pupae.Egg cases and cocoons can befound by lookingclosely at plant stemsfrost-coveredor the underside ofegg case froma prayingleaves which remainmantison trees and shrubs.The egg case froma praying mantis isstraw-colored andlooks like a pieceof shredded wheatbreakfast cereal about the size of achild’s thumb. They can be foundattached to stems of tall grassesand weeds, especially inovergrown felds.Dave SpeirBill BanaszewskiTracksA dusting of fresh snow is ideal for looking attracks. Footprints tell uswhat kind of animalpassed by. If welook closely, wecan often figureout what theanimal wasdoing. Squirrelsand rabbits oftenleave tracks crisscrossing the yard.Follow the tracks to seewhere they lead. They mayreveal an animal searching for food,perhaps even following another animal.

W inntert e r W ildlifeas many different kindsof animals as in thesummer months, butthere’s still plenty towatch for in winter.We can look for theanimals themselves,and we can look for thesigns they leave behindas they go about theirlives, day and night.The most activeanimals, such as birds,squirrels and rabbits,are what we’ll seemost. Other animals,such as deer, foxesand mice, are moresecretive. We’ll have towatch more carefullyfor themas we look forthe signsthey leavebehind.Scat ChatDeer ScatSueShaferfoxBill BanaszewskiWe may not seedeerCan we talk? After all, what goes in must come out,so another sign to watch for is animal droppings, also knownas scat. Sometimes you can find scat near where animals havebeen eating. Sometimes they mark their territory with scat and urine.With a good field guide to help, you can tell what kind of animal leftthe scat and what the animal ate. Wintertime rabbit scat is easy torabbitrecognize. It looks like small balls of sawdust, from their winter diet oftwigs and bark. Foxes and coyotes eat many mice and voles, so theirscat has a lot of hair in it. Pellets from owls and hawks are sometimesconfused with scat. They are the undigested fur and bones from thesmall mammals eaten by these birds of prey, coughed up in a neat littleraccoonpackage. (Be sure to wear rubber gloves or use a stick if you take scatapart. It sometimes contains harmful parasites.)For more information:A Guide to Nature in Winter by Donald Stokes (Little, Brown & Company, New York, 1976)“A Long Winter Nap” by Anita Sanchez, in Conservationist, December 2006, pp 22-23.The Seven Sleepers by Phyllis S. Busch (Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 1985)Track Finder by Dorcas Miller (Nature Study Guild Publishers, Rochester, New York, 1981)Watching Nature by Monica Russo (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1998)4

TterA guidetohese are just a few of the mostcommon tracks we see in winterin New York State.niWTracks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,When you find tracks, look at the shape ofeach footprint, and look for toe marks. Thiswill help you figure out which way the animalwas going. The toes point the way, so followthe tracks to see where they lead. Use all theclues around you – tracks, feeding, scats, andothers – to solve the mystery of what kind ofanimal left the tracks and what it was doing.There are many different field guides to wintertracks. They can be a big help as you get betterat studying tracks and want to learn more., , , , , , , , , , , , ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,y.;., ' .,ff-#.;"J ,#,# ·.,.,., ''· 'I , ,,'-':.'Dog,,,.,.,#,,,.,,'I.;'I,#.,.;.;,,,,,,, , , , ,, , , , ,J,,#i'f , ,, ' . Cat,,,'. V " I;\J 5,,,.,,,.,,.,, ,. . . 'J Squirrel,,#1.I,,.J,;. . ,.;.,.;.,,#. - :rt t,,;,#,#",;,# .,,,.}}· "1.,rEasternCottontail ',,.,,

" ,ft/.;tj,.#tf.'#';- ··.; r- j,.?2.;j,. j,.j,. j,. (ft. - j,.,. . ;-.-. ··.;j,., 'I t.;,,,.,, , ,, ,. ,, , ,, ,. ,Coyote,.,,' ,J,,,,.;',,.'i t,.',,,J, , ,. ,,.White-tailedDeer, , , ,, , ,. ,.,, ,. ,,.,, ,. ,, ,. ,,Red Fox,,,, ,. ,, ,. ,, ,. ,,,.,#!fl,J,.- ,J,-I,J,,J,)(',,.,J,-I,J,!Ifc).Raccoon"J.,J,'#""- ,J,,J,,,.,,,.)C'#,J,,- """·Turkey6

TheIdeas for Exploring Outdoors!PageDETECTIVE BADGE(cut me out and wear me)KeepAaField Journalfield journal is a diary of what you see, hear andexperience as you explore outdoors. All you’ll needto begin is a notebook and something to write with.For each entry, write the date, location where you areexploring, and what the weather is like. Take yourjournal outdoors with you so that you can take breaksand write down your discoveries as you find them. Youcan also make sketches of the things you see. If you like,you can tape in photos you take during your adventures.Record whatever is of interest to you: animals you see,signs of animals, plants you see, sounds you hear, cloudpatterns in the sky. You can even record how seeingand experiencing these things made you feel!Become a Track Detective!When there’s fresh snow on the ground, headoutdoors and look for tracks. Use the wintertracks guide (pages 5 & 6) to help you figureout which animal made the tracks. Follow thetracks and try to figure out what the animalwas doing. Make drawings of the tracks inyour field journal, and record when andwhere you saw them. It’s fun to photographtracks too. Pictures are best iftaken in early morning or lateafternoon on sunny days.Whenwe use tracks and otherf you can’t find animaltracks, make your own.clues to figure out whatTake turns with yourhappened, it’s called “readingfriends makingthe trail.” Can you make your tracksand followingeach others'“tell a story” for your friends totracks.“read” and figure out?INew York State CONSERVATIONIST FOR KIDS Volume 1, Number 1, December 2007Eliot Spitzer, Governor of New York StateDEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATIONStuart Gruskin, Executive Deputy CommissionerBasil Anastassiou, Director of CommunicationsJack McKeon, Deputy Commissioner for AdministrationPete Grannis, CommissionerDIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND EDUCATIONLaurel K. Remus, Director, Public Affairs and EducationNeil Satterly, Asst. Director, Public Affairs & EducationAnn Harrison, Chief, Bureau of Environmental EducationGina Jack, Environmental EducatorFrank Knight, Environmental EducatorRobert deVilleneuve, Production/Design DirectorFrank Herec, Artist/DesignerJenn Olmstead, Artist/DesignerEDITORIAL OFFICES-Conservationist for Kids ISSN applied for, 2007 by NYSDEC, is an official publication of the New York State Department of EnvironmentalConservation published 3 times per year at 625 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4500. Telephone (518) 402-8043. TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CONSERVATIONISTVisit the Department’s website at or call 1-800-678-6399. CONSERVATIONIST FOR KIDS and the Teacher Supplement are available online The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, disability, age or gender.Please recyclethis copy.

New York State Department of Environmental ConservationConservationist for Kidswww.cforkids.orgSupplement for Classroom Teachers“Winter Wildlife Detective” – December 2007Alexander B. GrannisCommissionerLeave No Child InsideThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proud to share a newmagazine with you and your students: Conservationist for Kids. Research has demonstrated aspectrum of developmental, health, performance and social benefits of children’s experienceswith nature. Conservationist for Kids has been developed as one aspect of the DEC’s proposedLeave No Child Inside program to encourage children in New York State to explore natural areasand develop an interest in environmental stewardship. The magazine, and an accompanyingteacher supplement, will be distributed to public school fourth grade classes three times eachschool year (fall-winter-spring). Conservationist for Kids and the teacher supplement areavailable at in both HTML and PDF formats. You can e-mail us [email protected] to provide feedback or suggestions.Using Conservationist for Kids in the ClassroomInformation and activities in Conservationist for Kids encourage readers to explore outdoors atschool and at home. You may wish to read it together as a class activity, or have your studentsread the magazine independently. The activities in the magazine may be completed by yourstudents at school or at home. Additional activities and resources can be found in this TeacherSupplement and on our website: www.cforkids.orgMST Curriculum ConnectionsThe activities in Conservationist for Kids have been correlated to the New York State Math,Science and Technology Learning Standards for 4th grade, below. Connections to other learningstandards may also be valid.Keep a Field Journal:MST1. Scientific Inquiry 1-3MST4. The Living Environment 1-7Become a Track Detective: MST1. Scientific Inquiry 1Supplemental Activities for the Classroom:Feed the BirdsMaterials needed for each student:pine cone* If you are concerned about peanutstringallergies, substitute suet (beef fat)popsicle stickfor the peanut butter and select birdpeanut butter*seed without peanuts.bird seed*Student Instructions: Tie the string around the pine cone so you can hang it outside when it’sdone. Use the popsicle stick to cover the pine cone with peanut butter, stuffing it into all of thecracks. Roll the pine cone in bird seed, pushing as many seeds into the peanut butter as possible.Hang the pine cone outside and wait for the birds to find it. Refill it as often as needed. Keep arecord of which birds visit your feeder and what their favorite foods are. (Note: Squirrels likethese too, and may bite the string and take the whole pine cone away. Make a bunch in case thesquirrels take some.)

Make your own “binoculars”Materials needed for each student:two empty toilet paper tubesstringShared materials:staplersingle hole punchcrayons or coloring pencilsStudent Instructions: Line the tubes up side by side and staple them together. Punch a hole nearone end of each tube and tie the string between them so you can hang your “binoculars” aroundyour neck. Decorate them with drawings of the animals you’ve seen. Take your binocularsoutside and look through them to spot wildlife. They won’t make distant things appear closer,but they will help you to focus on one animal or object at a time to concentrate on it closely.Scat RapGo to to try out the Scat Rap, all about animal droppings. Have your studentsmake up their own verses about what they find as they explore outdoors.Scat UnwrappedIf you find scat while you’re exploring outdoors, use a stick or wear rubber gloves and break itapart. Try to figure out what kind of animal left the scat, and what it ate. Though not scat, owlpellets are fascinating to dissect since they contain bones, in addition to fur. Class sets ofsterilized owl pellets for dissection are available from science suppliers.Teacher WorkshopsFor teachers who have participated in a Project WILD or Flying WILD workshop, the followingactivities complement the current issue of Conservationist for Kids. For information aboutworkshops to obtain these curriculum and activity guides ect Wild ActivitiesLearning to Look, Looking to SeeUrban Nature SearchFlying WildBird BuffetFeeder FrenzyMore Great StuffPrintable activity sheets can be found on the Conservationist for Kids website: www.cforkids.orgRecommended Resources (additional resources are listed in Conservationist for Kids):Animal Tracking and Behavior by Donald & Lillian Stokes (Little, Brown & Company, NewYork, 1986)Exploring Nature in Winter by Alan M. Cvancara (Walker & Company, New York, 1992)A Field Guide to Animal Tracks (3rd edition) by Olaus J. Murie & Mark Elbroch (HoughtonMifflin Co.,

Become a Track Detective! W W KKeep p a a The Ideas for Exploring Outdoors! Page . DETECTIVE BADGE (cut me out and wear me) Field Journal. A . field journal is a diary of what you see, hear and experience as you explore outdoors. All you’ll need to begin is a notebook and something to write with. For each entry, write the date, location where ...