Family Fun – White Pine Forest

Nature based education brings the classroom outdoors and the outdoors into the classroom. Here are some activities that students of all ages will enjoy. You can find a White Pine forest on the Carter Meadow Trail at Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Crazy Science!

Why do male birds have all the fancy colors and female birds are, well…kind of drab?

Have you noticed male birds are so brightly colored and females birds are not? It’true and it’s nature’s way to help birds. Male birds are brightly colored because they want to protect their territory and attract a mate. They do that best with bright colors! The bright colors tell other male birds “Stay out! This nesting spot is mine!” and at the same time, tells the female birds “Look at me, aren’t I fabulous? Imagine how well I will take care of your nest.” Female birds however, have a whole other set of problems to solve. Female birds lay eggs and want to protect the nest. They do that best with soft, muted colors that don’t draw attention to them or their babies. Can you pick out the male and the female pairs below?

(Answers: a: male blackburnian warbler b: female blackburnian warbler c: female pine warbler d: male pine warbler)

Explore more!

Download playing cards, mix and match the mating pairs of song birds.


Click on the link below to print coloring pages of animals found in White Pine forests.

Grow an Indoor Moss Garden in 4 easy steps

What you’ll need:

  • a small clay pot or terrarium style bowl
  • some small stones and pebbles
  • some charcoal
  • moss – buy from a nursery or find some growing in the yard or find along the sidewalk

Step 1: Choose a clean container. You can use a clay pot, or a terrarium style glass jar or bowl works great if it’s going to be placed on a desk or table.

Step 2: It’s all about the layers. Place a layer of rocks or pebbles inside the container. This will form the bed for your moss in order for it to root and grow. It will also provide necessary drainage for your moss plant. Then place a bed of charcoal on top of the pebble/stone layer to also help with retaining moisture for the moss. The moss will follow the charcoal and pebbles and be topped off with potting soil. Use a spray bottle to mist the surface of the soil in order for it to get moisture. Do not put too much water in the container because mosses do not require a lot of water to grow. The layers that you created will help the moss plant conserve water needed for its continued development and growth.

Step 3: Mist the Moss (say that fast 3x!) Moss likes it damp especially the first 3-4 weeks! Use a spray bottle to mist the moss daily.

Step 4: Put a lid on it. Place a seal over the moss but do not seal it completely to allow air to get in. The moss should be kept out of direct sunlight and misted frequently in order to keep the plant from drying out. Placing out of the sunlight and in a container will promote its growth and produced the desired green mossy plant that you are looking for.