Observing living things in the local environment helps children develop an appreciation for all living things, not just the exotic animals that feature most commonly in picture books and wildlife shows. It also helps them appreciate the diversity of living things in their local area and may stimulate an interest to know more.
Conducted over a week, including a weekend, observations can reveal a surprising number of creatures. If the observations are repeated throughout the year; for example, during different seasons, a greater diversity may be observed.
Be part of a larger project
While observations can be conducted independently as part of the class curriculum, sometimes you can be involved in larger citizen science projects such as these two Australian projects: the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and The Atlas of Living Australia. Data on The Atlas of Living Australia enables you to find out what living things others have observed in your local (Australian) area.
Books and other resources
While many species observed may be identified through an internet search, particularly using the resource section of your local museums, it is also useful to source books about the wildlife of your area, or to seek out local groups and experts to assist identification and to develop understanding of local habitats and living things.
Include picture books if possible too. For example, earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the launch of an exhibition of collages created by Australian author and illustrator Jeannie Baker to continue reading