Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Instinctive Listening

If you’ve ever watched deer feeding, you may have noticed how they seem to ignore the common sounds of the their environment, but as soon as their ears pick up even the faintest sound that “doesn’t belong,” they immediately raise their heads and listen, motionless as if determining if this new sound is going to be a threat or not. Using their other senses, they intuitively assess a situation, allowing instinct to guide their next action.

Try this! Go to a nearby natural area and find a comfortable place to sit, on a rock, picnic table, the ground. Close your eyes and practice listening with “deer ears.” Pay close attention to the sounds you here, determining their location and whether or not they belong or do not belong in this setting. How do they affect you? How does this exercise relate to your daily life?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Starry Nights

I may be biased, but I think the desert has the best view of the night sky. I’ll never forget the first time I felt the sheer vastness of the night sky while camping along the U.S./Mexico border, in the Sonoran desert. I had just finished my dinner and decided to lay back and count satellites while star gazing. I remember the sky nearly took my breath away as I looked out across the infinity of a flat, black desert and up to a sky splattered with more stars than open space, and I truly appreciated the words “blanket of stars,” because that is exactly what it felt like—as if the stars were wrapped around me like a heavy blanket. I felt very small. And it was exhilarating!

Why not take an evening to learn about the stars, and their constellations, even galaxies you can see. Call your local astronomy club (or start your own!) and go to their next star party. Typically they meet during, or close to, the New Moon for better viewing.

Want something really out there? Check out this week's Nature Time (side bar) for some far out music from the stars...yes, really! Go directly to the article here.

If you’re feeling a little more reflective, practice some meditative star gazing. Lose yourself in the night sky, wrap yourself in a blanket of stars and reflect on the answers you are seeking.

Eco-Camping and the Great American Backyard Campout!

It’s that time of year, June 27th is the next NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout! It doesn’t have to be on the 27th, but try a new spin on a night out with your family. Pull out the tent and sleeping bags and spend the night in your yard. See nature in a whole new night light. Discover what happens while your family is usually sleeping inside…

Find out more here.

Find out more about Eco-Camping, get easy tips for responsible, green camping from Earth 911 here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nature Happens

My mom and I enjoyed a serendipitous moment with my son the other day. We were at the local children’s museum, outside on the patio—with a nice little breeze. I picked up some Bougainvillea leaves that were on the ground and held them up to my fuchsia-colored shirt which matched the color of the Bougainvillea bracts almost perfectly.

My toddler-aged son saw me do this and instantly spied the rest of the Bougainvillea on the patio. After an excited,“I get moohr foh you, mommy!” he was off grabbing for all the papery, pink bunches floating along the ground that he could catch. He was having fun, carrying on a giggly exclamation each time one spirited away, just out of reach.

The breeze started to pick up and the dry bracts he was collecting into his clenched little hands were beginning to break apart and float around him. I got such a kick out of watching him squeal with pure excitement each time he tried to catch some of the crushed pieces mid-air. Every time he reached for one, more would escape. It was a great game.

Just a few minutes later, the breeze faded—ah, its prize surrendered! My son gathered all of the bright pink pieces and gifted the crumbling bunch to me. Honestly, I’m not sure which one of us had the bigger smile :)

It's fun when little things like that happen. I very much enjoy these unplanned treasures, especially through the eyes of my son. The whole scene couldn't have lasted more than five minutes, but anytime the opportunity for us to connect with nature presents itself, it is such a joy for the both of us, likely for different reasons I’m sure…but possibly not. I certainly feel a deeper connection to nature through my son at these moments; I feel closer to him, and I'm open to the spirit of the gift and simplicity of the experience. Nature just happens.