Natural World

Billy Goats Gruff?

What do nannies, billies, and kids have in common? They're all goats! Nannies are the moms, billies are the dads, and of course, kids are the kids!

Busy Bees

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

--Isaac Watts, Against Idleness and Mischief

 

 Do you like honey on your toast? Thank a bee! Actually thank about 100,000 bees. That's how many can live in one hive! "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…" (It would take you about 27 hours of non-stop thanking to thank each bee in one hive.) Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and carrying it back to their hive. They put it in a little wax cell. Then bees fan their wings over the nectar to help the water evaporate from it. When most of the water has evaporated, what's left is honey. They cover the cell with wax to save the honey for later. When a beekeeper's hive has more honey than the bees need to eat, the beekeeper harvests it.

April Showers

Let's have fun in the rain with springtime games, crafts, and rainy day books.

Puddle-Jumping

It's raining. It's pouring. The old man might be snoring, but you're not. You're BORED. Tired of being in the house with nothing to do. There's no Cat in the Hat to get things going, but if you've got your galoshes and your rain coat (and a willing grownup) there's something you can do after the rain—puddle-jumping!
Run through the puddles very fast. Or, jump in big puddles as hard as you can. Play follow the leader and have a blast.

Getting Cellular

Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find simple cells-- not little green men, and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.

Listen, Look, Learn...Birds of North America Online

Birds of North America Online

Whether you are an avid birdwatcher, a student preparing a report on the state bird of Virginia, or just interested in hearing the real drumming sound of a woodpecker, then Birds of North America Online is for you! In addition to the sound recordings of each bird, there are also photographs and often video clips of each species. Articles about the bird’s appearance, food habits, migration, life cycle and much more are also available.

Cats and Kittens Everywhere!

Do you love cats? Whether you have a cat as a pet now or dream about getting one someday, it's still fun to meet cats in stories you can find at the public library. Click on the link for our list, Cats and Kittens Everywhere, to see what adventures the feline furballs are having between the pages.

It's Easy to Make a Bird Feeder

When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests. 

Your First Aquarium

An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.

Fun with Bubbles!

It's time to break out the pans of soapy water for a wet and wonderful outside Bubble Party. You can buy bubble solution, but it's cheaper to make your own. Take a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, and mix them together gently. Do not mix it so much that it foams.

Pour it into a shallow pan, or seal it tightly to use later. You can either use store-bought bubble wands, or you can twist wire or pipe cleaners into shapes to catch the film. Make sure you keep your hands nice and wet to keep the bubbles from popping, and don't let the little ones drink the bubble mix.

Spider Power

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider
to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did
spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you
are there."

--Mary Howitt's classic poem, The Spider and the Fly

From this spider's dread invitation to the silly fly to J.R.R. Tolkien's mammoth spider-being Shelob, these eight-legged wonders have developed a nasty reputation. But spiders are a part of nature and have many fine qualities.