I love it when I’m researching and learning about one topic and it leads me to another interesting topic. This often happens with nature study when an answer to a question just makes you curious about something else.
I’ve been reading about pocket gophers because we have many that live and are active in the habitat behind our house here in Central Oregon. Their holes are everywhere! (If you’re interested in learning about pocket gophers, there’s an Outdoor Hour Challenge in the High Desert ebook that will help you get started.) We’ve been wondering just what they eat and it turns out their diet includes “forbs”.
I had no idea what a “forb” was, so we decided to research the term.
“A forb or phorb is an herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid (grass, sedge, or rush). The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands and understory.”
Basically, most wildflowers are forbs. Grass is not a forb.
A pocket gopher’s diet consists mainly of forbs, eaten from the roots and pulled down into their tunnels. Most pocket gophers do not venture too far from their tunnel entrances to look for vegetation to eat.
So my dear readers, follow those “rabbit trails” when you are researching a topic. You never know what gem you will discover. I learned a new term to use in my nature study.
Do you have some time on your hands these days for a little extra nature study?
Here’s a short of list of the newer Outdoor Hour Challenges you may want to complete that feature some totally awesome mammals. I’m personally working my way through the list in my own study and following up with nature journal pages for each one. I still have a few more to go!
Most children have noticed holes in the ground during their outdoor time. Have you ever wondered who made those holes and how they created them? This week you’ll use your outdoor hour to look for some holes of your own.
Before you go, do some of the Inside Preparation Work from the Outdoor Hour Challenge for pocket gophers. This will help you learn about an animal that might have dug the hole you find. Make sure to watch the YouTube videos linked below!
Here are a few ideas to get you started with a pocket gopher nature study:
Choose your resource for learning about the pocket gopher. This could be a field guide, a book from your local library or an online resource. Here’s an online resource to get you started: National Wildlife Federation.
Please note that I won’t be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you will find the detailed challenge in the High Desert ebook that’s available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.
If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 25 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!
Topics in this ebook include:
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
Please use the discount code INITTOGETHER to receive $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.
The High Desert ebook is now ready for you to download and use with your family. This ebook has been a labor of love on my part because it is filled with some of my favorite topics and things I have in my own habitat. I have been anxious to share these subjects with you my blog readers for a long time!
I have included many links and resources for nature journal pages for your family to use in your nature study.
We will be working our way through this ebook in a few months so get ready to follow along. Please note that even though this ebook is titled “high desert”, many of the the topics can be found in other habitats. In most cases, I have suggested an alternative nature study idea to supplement or substitute for the ebook topic. I encourage you to give it a try!
There are 14 brand new Outdoor Hour Challenges for you to complete as part of your nature study lessons with your children. These Challenges are not based on information in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. You’ll be using internet links and field guides to glean information about each topic. See the bottom of this post for book and resource ideas you may wish to have as a supplement to this High Desert ebook.
This 63 page digital ebook has 14 challenges and supplemental activities
There are multiple custom notebooking pages for each of the topics. You can choose from simple notebook pages or more advanced notebooking pages.
Here are the specific topics included in this ebook:
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
How do you get the new High Desert ebook?
Members of the Ultimate Naturalistand Journey levels have access to the new ebook in their library. You need to click the “Members Area” button at the top of the website, sign into your account, and the ebook is there to download and save for your family to use when desired.
If you don’t have a membership yet, I’m offering a $5 off discount code that will be good towards your Ultimate Naturalist membership.
Discount Code: OHC10
Here are my favorite resources that I use all of the time in my own study of the High Desert habitat.