Showing posts with label world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world. Show all posts

Learning About Salt Marshes


I have spent much of my life visiting a house on Cape Cod that is on a salt marsh. I never really looked into what a salt marsh is or its value as an ecosystem, but lately have been thinking about it. Today I am delving into a salt marsh, and we will start with what it is and why they are important.

What Is a Salt Marsh?

A salt marsh is a wetlands ecosystem that is flooded and drained by the ocean's tides. They are formed where rivers or creeks meet the ocean. They are composed of deep mud and peat. Peat is a spongy, root-filled material composed of decomposing plant material. They can be low on oxygen which allows certain bacteria to grow, and this bacteria can give off the smell of rotten eggs often associated with salt marshes. I found this interesting since I have early memories of coming to visit my grandparents at night and the awful smell of the marsh always made me hate arriving. Then in the morning the smell was usually gone. 

The marsh has creeks that run through it, but they can change over time depending on tides and more. The marsh also filters out pollutants and provides places for oyster reefs as well as mussels to live. The salt marsh can take the carbon dioxide and sunlight and create carbon and new life. It cleanse our world and provides essential places for fish, shellfish and birds to begin their lives and live. There are also salt-tolerant plants that grow in the marsh. There are two parts of salt marsh: low marsh and high marsh. The low marsh gets flooded every day whereas the high marsh only a couple of times during a month. 

Low Marsh

In the low marsh there is cordgrass or Spartina alterniflora. This grass grows in deep mud that has low oxygen levels. It has strong roots and is flooded and drained of salt water twice a day. The cordgrass does many things important to the ecosystem as well as the surrounding environment. It actually protects the mainland from storms. Yep!! That salt marsh actually helps protect our house. It also helps collect more sediment (from the ocean) and build more marsh. It is also food for some of the wildlife and provides habitats. 

In the summer the marsh is nice and green. However, cordgrass is a perennial and dies off in the fall and winter.

The low marsh is where the creek is and provides a home for crabs as well as a nursery for some fish. 

High Marsh

In the high marsh there is more diverse life. It is only flooded about twice a month. Saltmeadow cordgrass or Spartina patens (commonly called salt marsh hay) and salt grass or Distichlis spicata grow in the high marsh. Many of the plants can store the salt and help with the habitat. 

There is not as much about the high marsh available as it has more dry plants that can handle the salt but not as often as the low marsh plants. More plants can grow here.

Our marsh is surrounded by phragmites. Phragmites also called common reeds are an invasive species. Phragmites can grow up to 14 feet tall by summers end. They can grow thick and take over some of the marsh. I have also seen they can have positive effects on the marsh. There are actually laws about cutting them here. 

Our phragmites serve as a landing place for many of the birds and especially the red-winged blackbirds. 

When I was young my grandfather took me into the marsh. It is hard to walk in and you really need boots on as the mud is messy. Now we tend to stay out of it since it is a breeding ground for deer ticks and yes, there is Lyme disease out there. My parents and I have all been treated after finding ticks on us. In fact at one point my parents' doctors would put them on the antibiotics right away when they found a tick on them because Lyme disease was so prevalent. 

Climate Change and Threats to Salt Marshes

Salt marshes are found around the world. They are on every coast of the United States. There are threats to them due to climate change and how people have interfered with them in the past. In Massachusetts as well as elsewhere there are groups trying to protect these important ecosystems. People's desire for land, farming, and more is slowly destroying them. When my grandparents built this house, they were told they had to build it along the edge of the marsh. Today the town realizes that is a mistake and tries to protect the marsh more and would not permit the house to be built as close as it previously demanded. As we worry about the eroding coastline we worry about our closeness to the marsh. Our house is in a flood plan and had it been built farther back it would not be. But we love the views and watching the changing marsh. And of course we love the sunsets!

To learn more about marshes check out this video.

To learn more about the wildlife check out this video as well. And to learn about the high marsh you can check out this video


Books & Other Resources:

I found a few books about salt marshes at the library if you would like to go that route.

1) 24 Hours in a Salt Marsh by Christy Peterson shares about a day at a salt marsh on the Oregon Coast.

2) Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes by Doug Wechsler shares about the life found in northern salt marshes (New Jersey is mentioned). Some of the wildlife shared I do not see (or know about at least) at Cape Cod.

3) A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz takes the reader hour by hour naming various wildlife found in a marsh. It has some activities and more information at the end including why salt marshes are important and information about spartina and its adaptations.

4) Salt Marsh by Paul Fleisher shares about a salt marsh in Chesapeake Bay. 

Activities, Crafts & Lessons

Teach your kids more about salt marshes with these lessons, activities and crafts.

Spectacular: Miracles of Nature -- Book Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Our planet is full of beauty. Often we take it for granted but when on vacation or in a moment of peace we notice how amazing it is. Today I am sharing a new book (released today) that shares some of the amazing places from around the world that show nature's beauty. Plus, there are even some notes about the science behind it. The book is Spectacular: Miracles of Nature by Philippe Nessmann and illustrated by Alex Asfour. It is recommended for ages 5 and up.

The Pop-Up Guide Cities Around the World -- Book Review with Crafts, Recipes and More!


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Looking to teach little ones about the world? Today we are sharing a fun pop-up book that takes us around the world. I am also sharing links to crafts, activities, and recipes to go with each city and/or its country. The book is The Pop-Up Guide: Cities Around the World by Maud Poulain and illustrated by Sandra de la Prada. It is recommended for ages 3 to 5. 

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 -- Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

When Hazel was young, she always loved flipping through the National Geographic Kids Almanac. When we saw it at the bookstore, she would ask me to get one for her. I was lucky enough to get several to review in years past. Today I get to share with you the newest edition--National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12. I know I shared it with Hazel when she was younger. We would look at it together and I would read it to her. And I also have a link for a giveaway of three copies!! Enter and you may be one of the lucky winners!!

About the New York Times Best-Selling National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024:

The New York Times best-selling Almanac is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, National Geographic exclusives, games, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more.

This new edition features: 

  • EXCLUSIVE National Geographic Explorer interviews and features
  • EXCLUSIVE Interactive Almanac Challenge 2024, plus the results of the Almanac Challenge 2023
  • BONUS SECTION of sidesplitting jokes and riddles
  • NEW fun-tastic things to see and do in 2024
  • NEW cutest animal superlatives and animal rescue stories
  • NEW science and dinosaur discoveries
  • NEW fun games, quizzes, and activities
  • NEW weird and wacky places around the world
  • NEW experiments to do, places to explore, and ways to change the world
  • UPDATED reference material, including fast facts and maps of every country

Check out for more information and to take the 2024 Almanac Challange, Elephant-Stagram!

Whether you’re looking for homework help, want to learn more about another country, or just need a cute animal fix, the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 has you covered!

From Me:

As I mentioned in the introduction, this was one of Hazel's favorites. It is packed full with fun information, riddles, jokes, fun facts, games and more. The topics are all over the place from animals (like the elephants that are part of this year's challenge) and the pages about flamingos and so many others. It also has animals in the news like the ones rescued from the war and more. The book also includes all you ever wanted to know about plastics and the need to reduce our usage of them. There is information about space and Earth as well as wonders of the world, history, geography, culture and science and technology. It is full of photographs galore as well as tidbits that are just fun!

While I was flipping through, I tried to get Hazel to say some of the tongue twisters and then asked her some of the riddles. She claimed I was being annoying (typical teenager mode) until she saw the "Stump Your Parents" section. She took over and quizzed me. Then I found the other quiz and asked her. We had a lovely time laughing and teasing each other over the facts. 

What I love about this book is it is fun and informational. It is perfect for checking out with an adult or to look up something for school. There are so many different topics and lots of ideas and actions to take to make the world a better place. It is such a great book to inspire kids to learn about things they love even if they haven't heard of them yet. I love how it has information about the dinosaurs to the latest technology. There is truly something for everyone and more! I hope you will check it out!


Three (3) winners will receive a copy of this ultimate summertime boredom buster! Good luck!! The rafflecopter will be live from 12:01am ET 7/24 to 11:59pm ET 8/11. US/Canada.

All of Us -- New Multicultural Picture Book That Helps Remind Us We Are All the Same


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I love sharing multicultural children's books with you. Every January I get excited for Multicultural Children's Book Day. Today I get to share with you a beautiful new multicultural book. When I first read it, I couldn't wait to share it. It is fabulous and simple. The book is All of Us by Gökçe Irten. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

This is 52


This past week I turned 52. Fifty-two is not one of the benchmark years. I turned 50 in the summer of 2020. It was when we were afraid to be indoors with too many people and were still wearing masks often. Yet it was one of my best birthdays ever. My sister came for the day and she and Hazel made a delicious meal topped off with a homemade birthday cake. They did all the planning, the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning. They even decorated our patio for the party. Yes, we ate outside. My sister works with newborns and their moms in a hospital setting and has taken being cautious to a new level. She wore her mask whenever she was in our house. It was truly the perfect birthday for me because I didn't have to do anything. It was small, intimate and simple. It certainly wasn't the ball my girlfriend went to for one of her friends who turned 50 this year. My girlfriend and many guests caught Covid from the ball. My girlfriend who is a nurse on a Covid unit in a local hospital. My girlfriend whose kids got Covid last summer and her oldest was truly sick for weeks. He could barely move off the couch, and she didn't get it. But she went to a 50th birthday ball and got it. No, my 50th was simple and fun and perfect and best of all we didn't get sick from the celebration!

The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals --#STEM Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you know an animal and/or plant lover? Are you a teacher? Today I get to share with you a new book that is absolutely beautiful!! This is a must have when teaching about animals and plants and especially ones that migrate or perhaps just teaching about migrating. It is The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals by Megan Lee and illustrated by Matt Sewell. It is recommended for ages 5 to 10. 

Ways to Use a World Atlas in Different Lessons

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How do you use a world atlas? Do you use it when you are teaching/learning geography? Are there other ways to use it? Today I am sharing with you the 6th Edition of National Geographic Kids World Atlas. And I am going to share ideas of different ways to use it in different types of lessons. They are not all social studies either! The World Atlas is recommended for ages 10 and older. 

Rocks, Shells and Minerals -- Review of book and a project


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This has been an interesting summer. Here in the Boston area we are experience a very wet and cool July. This July is the third wettest on record in Boston and the wettest July in Worcester. There have only been a few days where no rain fell. As a result there haven't been many real beach days. But during the dry times it is still fun to walk on the beach and look for some beach treasures. To go with these walks is today's book from National Geographic Kids. It is Little Kids First Big Book: Rocks, Minerals and Shells by Moira Rose Donohue. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8. 

Navigation History and How-To for Middle Grades


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you have a good sense of direction or are you one of those people who always gets lost? I tend to have a pretty good sense of direction. When I do get lost I can usually call my husband and he will pull out a map and find where I am and how to get where I want to be or use my GPS. Steve loves maps. When we were first married he would drive me crazy. I would print out directions when we were going somewhere but instead of reading me the directions he would try to tell me the directions from the map. Unfortunately he is not as quick as needed in the map reading when I'm driving. Because of Steve's love of maps, Hazel became interested in maps at a young age. Of course there are places that are not mapped out like the forest. What happens when you get lost there? Today's book is a book to give the reader skills to not get lost or at least know how to find one's way and what tools one might need when exploring. The book is How to Go Anywhere (and Not Get Lost) by Hans Aschim and illustrated by Andres Lozano.

Amazing Places -- Travel from Home with this Multicultural Children's Book


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

One thing I love about books is how you can travel the world with them. Today's book is one that will take the reader around the world and let them learn about amazing places everywhere. The book is Barefoot Books Amazing Places by Miralda Colombo and illustrated by Beatrice Cerochhi. 

Global Kids: 50+ Games, Crafts, Recipes & More from Around the World -- Multicultural Children's Book Day Review

Disclosure: I was sent a set of these cards in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

For today's multicultural review I am sharing a neat set of cards to teach kids about different cultures of the world. It is Global Kids: 50+ Games, Crafts, Recipes & More from Around the World by Homa Sabet Tavangar and Sophie Fatus.  

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

National Geographic Kids is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its annual almanac. This year's is packed full of interesting facts and amazing photos. Today we are sharing with you National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020

Picture Books that Make You Feel Good

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

Today I am going to share with you five new picture books that make you feel good when you read them or have the overall theme of making the world better. Don't we all need that in our world. We will start with How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham

6 New Holiday Books including Advent and Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf -- Holiday Preparations

Disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As always I am providing links to the book for your convenience.

I missed the sixth of November by a day, so: "On the 7th of November my stress-free holiday preparations brings me six new holiday books to read." Included in this grouping are some Advent ideas and an alternative to Elf on the Shelf (which I find really creepy). Now I should add I will be preparing more holiday books, and have tried to group them in various ways. This one is the non-religious and non-Christmas tree group. We will start with one that is more winter related rather than an actual holiday book. It is Poles Apart by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Jarvis. 

Books to Explore Our World -- Maps Poster Book and Panorama Pops Boston Book Reviews

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

We love books that help us learn about places and cultures. In case you cannot tell I am a bit obsessed with teaching Hazel and learning myself about other cultures and places. However we are not big travelers, so books are our answer. Candlewick Press sent me two great books for our family. The first to share is Maps Poster Book by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski.

Linked Thru Leonard

This summer we have gone to visit my parents several times for various reasons. In June we met Jill of Just Jill Today there. She is a photographer and sells some of her amazing photographs in various products. She also has a campaign with Leonard the Lobster, one of her photographed models. 

Sharing Saturday 15-24

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!!As summer approaches and schools end, the posts seem to dwindle in number, but we had some great posts shared last week. Our features include educational features, art and more features and a couple of various ones. Remember this is just a sampling of what was shared last week, so go back and check out the other great ones!!

Sharing Saturday 15-11

Sharing Saturday Button

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! Once again I am amazed to see such creative ideas. If you have not had a chance to check them out, you definitely need to. They are so inspiring!! The features are just a small sampling of what there is. This week's features are Party Foods, Kites and Easter, Raising Girls, Art, Lessons and Crafts.

Multicultural Monday: Learning about the World through Animals

On Friday Hazel and I went to the first of three Toddler Treks that I signed us up for at our local zoo, Stone Zoo. We will be going to one each month this summer. Since the zoo expected 800+ students from various schools, the instructor decided to keep us in the Discovery Center since it would be too hard to stay together as a group. She had planned several activities for the kids including showing them cards and asking what animal it is and would you see this animal in your backyard or at the zoo. This got me to thinking that the zoo is a perfect place to look at some multiculturalism. It is where we go to see the animals we do not see every day or in our own neighborhoods. The Stone Zoo is one of two zoos in the Boston area known as Zoo New England. The other is bigger and is in Boston. The Stone Zoo is nice since it is a good size for a young one and we do not have to drive into the city and deal with parking. (You may remember I shared our last visit to the zoo in a Happy Family Times post.)
 A great book to go with this lesson is Around the World on Eighty Legs by Amy Gibson. The book has hand drawn animals from around the world--broken up by regions of the world with poems and sometimes information about them. It is a fun read, but not as informative as I had hoped. However it is a great starting point to see which animals live where and then you could easily research them more.

Stone Zoo itself is divided into sections having to do with where the animals are from (or at least the environment they live in). Since our class was to start (and ended up staying in) the Animal Discovery Center, we went to the right (which is the way we usually go anyway). The first animal you see is the American Bald Eagle. They also have a replica of a nest. As the visitors we were talking to said their family of three could lay in it comfortably if they had to. Then there are the black bears. This is one of the newest additions to the zoo and one of my favorites. Since both of these are native to the United States, I will not go into them. Then we looked at the llamas. By this time it was time to head to our class so we went to the Animal Discovery Center where they have a corner of the room as windows to watch the llamas. The llamas like to come and stare into the glass so it was quite fun. These of course are normally found in South America. Although according to Wikipedia, they originated from North America and migrated 3 million years ago.
Llama on left is staring at window!
Inside the Animal Discovery Center they have six Panamanian Yellow Frogs (I found four of them in the tank), corn snake (who was very active), gecko, tarantula, and box turtles. From this list you can see they are also from all over the world. The Panamanian Yellow Frogs are obviously from Panama. The other animals can be found in parts of the U.S.A. as well as other places. A box turtle was taken out of the tank for the kids to learn more and to touch. I did not take any pictures in here, but I did take a picture of Hazel's craft. They had the kids play a game where they were caterpillars and had to bring the instructor five of the foam leaves they had "hid" around the room. Once they had found five, they received a butterfly and then had to find a flower of the same color. Then they had the kids make a paper chain caterpillar and if they wanted they stapled the butterflies on to change them to butterflies.
Hazel's caterpillar
Turned into a Butterfly
After class we joined the crowds to check out some of the animals. We continued in to the Sierra Madre area of the zoo. This includes the llamas, coyotes, bats, coati, cougar, jaguar, and gila monster.
Sleeping Jaguar
We got to see the coyote, but did not get a picture of him. The jaguar and the cougar were sleeping.
We did see the coati briefly, but there were large crowds around their cages. We didn't bother trying to get into the bat area  or the gila monster because of the crowds. We did see the rosy boa (in a cage here as well as in the Animal Discovery Center). After all this, we went and saw one of Hazel's favorite animals--the flamingos! They were building their nests and sitting on their eggs. Hazel thought they were sitting on rocks, but I showed her that they were mud and not rocks. This of course took our journey to the Carribean!
We went indoors to the exhibits there. They have the African crested porcupines, the Inca tern, a hornbill, Emperor tamarins, blue macaws, meerkats, and two-toed sloths and a large tortoise. I did not get any really good pictures here because it is dark and the windows tend to show dirt in pictures. Sorry!

At this point we went to the gift shop. I found some great books for references and learning more.
This book was written by an 8-year-old about the zoo!
Dover Press Books that use stickers to help learn about animals and their environments!
A coloring book that gives details about each animal on the page
Some origami for us to try!
Next we saw the American river otter. Ok, I have to share this picture because it was so cute. The otter came out to say hi to a zookeeper. Maybe he thought it was feeding time or something. You can see him standing on his hind legs towards the back  here (look below here).
Then we saw the monkeys and the white cheeked gibbons. The white cheek gibbons take us to Asia. They have a family of them. The father lost part of his arm at his previous zoo. The mother was carrying her baby this time.

At this point, Hazel was getting tired and wanted to go to the playground which is in the barn yard. It was a bit crowded there with older kids and I had to help her get down the slide since the older boys wanted to climb up the slide and then were chasing each other around it. Then we went for the rides near the snack bar. She of course had to go on the train.
Then the pink hippo.
Then she went on the zebra truck. Then it was time to go. We were tired and hungry. We talked about getting lunch but the snack bar was full of all the school kids getting lunch. So we went to the car. There I called the vet's office and found out we could pick up Fluffy (second day of x-rays), so we headed there which is basically down the street from the zoo. We found out Fluffy was fine! Best news of the week but we needed to watch her as we started to feed her again. Overall it was a fun day with many things to learn about and how animals live in different parts of the world. I am sure we will share more zoo visits with you soon.

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