Friday, July 15, 2011

Urban Nature Scavenger Hunt

Living in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have nature at our fingertips: 2nd tallest waterfall in the US (and prettier than the 1st by far), 2nd largest free-standing, single rock monolith in the northern hemisphere, one of the most ruggedly beautiful coastlines anywhere, dense forests, mountain ranges, high desert, farmlands & vineyards, lakes, rivers, the prairie dunes of the Palouse Hills, and tons of protected green space-after all we are all tree huggers here! However, I couldn't explore our "backyard" for our summer challenge and not include another part that makes up our landscape-urban city life. We live in a suburb of the metropolis of Portland, OR, with over 2 million inhabitants. At Go Explore Nature I found a Urban Nature Scavenger Hunt and I knew we were set to explore!

Scavenger Hunt (pic is of Portland)

We started out the day reading the Curious Garden by Peter Brown, and talked about how nature can be found in cityscapes. This book fits nicely with Portlander's sentiments because we are known for garden rooftops and green living. Then after a surprise lunch with Daddy at the shipyards it was off to the big city! The goal was to find natural thinks in a concrete jungle. Some of the things on our hunt was a flower in a sidewalk crack, birds, leaves, trees, puddles, seeds, and evidence of animals. In downtown Portland there are quite a few park spaces, but I purposely took "A" where we wouldn't come across them. It took some searching but we found everything but a seed (we went home and researched that Pine Cones can't be considered a seed). The great thing about the Urban Nature Scavenger Hunt I found was it also asked thoughtful questions like: Close your eyes and see if you can hear any natural things among the city sounds, take 20 steps and see if they were all concrete and where the nearest grass is, and (my fave) if you were a rabbit where would you sleep tonight. Of course, we also had lots of fun finding Curious Gardens of our own. "A" even discovered wind turbines on a skyscraper-nice find little man!!!

Weed trying to sneak through a grate
Boys in Downtown with Max in the background
Do you see the wind turbines on the skyscraper in the back?
Roof Top Garden (Curious Gardens)
Flowers Blooming in a Concrete Jungle
I love this city!

To finish up the Urban Nature Study I wanted to do an art project at home. I was really excited to do this one, so I made had to make one myself. My brother use to be an architecture major and had this fun stamp kit that makes buildings out of shapes. When he switched majors I got his castoff. Now this kit is pretty advanced! It has a book of ideas but it is not for the faint of heart. That being said the things you can make are endless, and I am excited to use this many times in the future for art work at home and in the classroom. "A" and I got busy building a city scene,  and "A" was content creating for some time. Then we drew nature in the urban landscape because as we now know- nature is everywhere if you are just patient enough to look.
"A" making a city using the stamps
My city with book of ideas and kit in background
My finished Urban Nature scene
"A" proud of his masterpiece (I'm pretty proud too)!


  1. yeeee-ouzers! What an awesome day--you are lucky to live in such an amazing spot--but you are a pretty incredible mom to think of such cool things to do! I cannot believe the artwork your little one created, and I am going to surely search for that kid--awesome. Thanks for linking to our Smart Summer Challenge!!

  2. What a fun scavenger hunt, and those stamps are awesome! I love your son's picture. I found you on the Outdoor Play link-up.

  3. What a wonderful idea! Living in a biggish capital city, this is just the kind of scavenger hunt I would love to do with my little peas! Heading over to the link now to get myself a copy! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Outdoor Play! I'll be featuring this post in this week's link-up!

  4. Love that book and I had that same stamp set growing up! What a great combination of activities. Thanks for sharing this on the outdoor play link up last week. I am featuring you this week!

  5. That is such an amazing creation. Something to keep for the years to come, no doubt.

  6. Yay! I'm so glad to see how much fun you had with the urban nature scavenger hunt! Thanks for sharing a link! :-)