This summer my children and I joined a creeks and waterfalls nature study group. It was a win-win for me because it got us outside, it got us exploring our state and my friend Julie planned all the road trips! This was a great way to have scheduled, outdoor learning time during the summer. Here’s a few tips and resources that we utilized during our various creeks and waterfall outings.
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Planning a Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study
I am so blessed that my friend Julie loves to plan nature study field trips. What I like is that she plans a theme that lasts anywhere from 6-13 weeks, and then schedules nature study field trips each week. Our group is willing to drive 1 – 2 hrs. for a nature study. This allows us to explore our state and see so many natural resources that we weren’t even aware where in our area!
- Check with local nature centers and museums for hands-on activities and nature talks. If you have a group, many of these agencies will provide a resource person to give a presentation or even lead a nature walk.
- Check with state parks and federal parks in your area.
- Check online reviews. This is how Julie came up with her first list of creeks and waterfalls to visit in our area. We were surprised how many awesome opportunities there were within an hour of us!
Helpful Supplies to Have on Hand
I have four children who went on these nature study trips will me. I did not want to be the Momma pack mule, so I got nylon travel backpacks for each of my kids. In their back packs they are in charge of carrying their water bottle, water shoes and a towel. This has worked out great because it gives them all ownership and helps them know what they are in charge of getting ready before each trip.
Other items to consider bringing along would be a walking stick, a net, a hat and a pen. We also did a little geocaching while on our nature hikes. 🙂
I also carry a backpack and in addition to my water shoes and water bottle, I have a few other supplies too. I have:
Insect repellent and mineral sunscreen that is plant-based, natural and safe for my children and the environment. (I put some of the insect repellent in a spray bottle and a roller bottle for quick applications.)
Seedling baby wipes. I put these in a small baggie and carry with us. These have come in very handy! (I love these because they are formulated without chlorine, alcohol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic dyes)
Essential Oils: R.C. to support our respiratory system if needed, Owie oil well for owies, lavender (not pictured)
Arnica: great for any bumps or bruises
Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier: I love this because there is no yucky stuff in it! This is a key item– it comes in handy when the kids pick up crawdads, frogs or dead fish 😉
Lipbalm: I don’t like to travel without it! 🙂
Thieves Spray: great for port-a-potties, spraying shoes after being in a creek etc.
Flashlight: one of our adventures had a cave. You never know when you need a flashlight! 🙂
(Note: Did you know I have a naturally-living community? If you’re interested in any of the products in the picture above, you can get them through my oily community. You can find more information here: Get Started in the MOST Living community I’d love to help you get started!)
Creek and Waterfall Outings
For most of our creek stomping adventures, we just explored. A few of our trips we had a short presentation by naturalists. While part of me wanted to bring drawing supplies to sketch– I just knew it would get wet. 🙂
If you live in central Indiana, here are the creeks and waterfalls we visited:
- Mounds State Park in Anderson, IN
- Falls Park in Pendleton, IN
- Turkey Run in Marshall, IN
- Cave River Valley in Campbellsburg, IN
- Thistlewaite Falls in Richmond, IN
- Anderson Falls in Hartsville, IN
- McCormicks Creek in Spencer, IN
- McCloud Park in North Salem, IN
- Cool Creek Park in Carmel, IN
Creek and Waterfall Resources
To add a little more structured learning, here is a great nature study unit study: Incredible Creeks. You’ll cover rocks, erosion, fresh water animals, creek health and more!
We also love to add in some art. I also think art and nature studies go hand-in-hand!