EXPAND!: Unit 1.


Natural History & Ecology

This section contains items you should use, do, pursue, read, join, etc. to develop as a naturalist and to learn about natural history in Pennsylvania and beyond.
This Section is listed in the following order: Journal, Read, Surf, and Join.



While sitting in your special spot, consider the following quote: “The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as land, among whom education and culture have become almost synonymous with landlessness. This is the problem of conservation education.” Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac.


What songs, poems, or other artistic works come to mind when in your special spot? Reflect on the ways that art expresses the inexpressible. What is inexpressible about your spot?


Write a poem or draw a sketch based on some aspect of your special spot. You could compose a simple rhyme, a haiku, or a whole sonnet. Taking the time to observe the details that you need for your sketch will help you establish a connection with that part of your special spot!


 A Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold. Illustrated Edition (photographs of Leopold’s former Wisconsin farm by photographer Sewell) 2001. Oxford University Press: New York. 194 pp.

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold is one of the most classic examples of nature journaling. Leopold reflects on the nature surrounding his home along the Wisconsin River, as well humankind’s role in preserving the natural environment for future generations. This is a must read for all who are interested in the environment and conservation.

Click here to see which libraries carry this version (via Worldcat.org).
Click here to see Amazon information on this version.
** There are many different editions and versions of this title, so enjoy them all if you would like.

The Amateur Naturalist. Nick Baker. 2005. National Geographic Society: Washington, D.C. 256 pp.

The Amateur Naturalist serves as a guide to equipping yourself to explore the natural world. Baker provides instructions for simple experiments, how to be st observe nature, and interesting facts about flora and fauna. This is a great guide for the beginning naturalist, encouraging hands-on exploration of the surrounding environment.

Click here to see which libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org).
Click here to see Amazon information.


Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources:

As the agency responsible for the conservation of Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations, the PA DCNR provides information about trails and parks to visit, volunteer opportunities, maps of state parks, forests and more, and educational material about the biodiversity, heritage, and natural resources located within the state.

The Academy of Natural Sciences:

The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia is a wonderful natural history museum, dedicated to scientific research and public education. In addition to a variety of changing and permanent exhibits in the museum, they provide a variety of online exhibits for those who cannot visit. These virtual exhibits do change, check out the lastest exhibit information on their Online Exhibits page. They also have the Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection, and the “What am I?”section, providing a fun and informational guessing game based on a picture of something from nature.


North Museum of Natural History & Science: 

The North Museum, housed on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, was started from the natural specimens collected by a group of naturalist-collectors called the Linnaean Society in the late 1800s. The Museum is dedicated to educating the public, especially the local community, about science by providing hands-on opportunities for exploration. In addition to the permanent exhibits about dinosaurs, outer space, the natives of the Susquehanna, and a live animal room, the Museum also offers a planetarium with shows and an exhibit that changes throughout the year. When you stop by to explore their natural history exhibits, become a member to support the educational efforts of the Museum and to receive special benefits!

Delaware Museum of Natural History: 

Open since 1972, the Delaware Museum of Natural History strives to educate the public about the natural world via exploration and discovery. The Museum houses exhibits covering a wide variety of ecosystems, including African watering holes and coral reefs, and also provides the opportunity for outdoor exploration in the Butterfly Garden and on the Larry Scott Nature Trail. Becoming a member will provide you with unlimited visits during the year, as well as support the Museum’s mission of incorporating natural history into every child’s education.

Continue to:
Unit 2: Rocks, Ice and Dirt

Updated: June 2018