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!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Own Little Fledgling Hiker

Over the weekend, we had a beautiful break in the weather following a week of solid rain--a rare event here in the Coachella Valley desert. We decided to hit the trail with our 3 year old son. He had walked his first "hike" two years ago on this same trail! Much of the part we covered is fairly flat, but a little further back, it becomes a pretty good climb for a little guy, but he kept going--not without a few pleas to be carried, mind you. I kept daddy ahead of us as his motivation to go "just a little further."

I was really proud that he did keep going, even when he would get a little frustrated. When we got to the "top" we had some juice and fish crackers, we "ooh'd and ahh'd" over his rocks and stick (supreme treasures), and pointed out the Circus Vargas tent down in the mall parking lot, something you couldn't miss from our hilly perch.

My son was anxious to get down the hill, so we headed back. He liked going down hill, picking up rocks. My husband and I tried to get him to practice side stepping so he wouldn't slide. But he stayed toes forward and did just fine, despite our efforts! I decided to let him feel it out on his own. Trails are a great place for kids to learn balance and how their bodies move, like how to compensate when sliding! He never fell--on the hilly part anyway!

We came back through an area of large rocks, darkened with many centuries worth of patina, where he got in a little rock hopping and spied some ants. From there he narrated the rest of our journey with a mouth full of facts and fantasy. Eventually we made it back to the picnic tables, aka another fish cracker/apple bar break (our third), then headed home.

It took us two hours to cover a 20-minute span of trail, but at the risk of sounding cliche, it was the journey I appreciated most. I love experiencing nature through the eyes of my son, he is drawn to things that I take for granted on a trail. I value nature so much that I treasure every moment he delights in it. The experience is always a fun lesson in discovery for both of us!

The trail is a wonderful classroom :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finding Yourself In A Tree

There are rich counsels in the trees. ~Herbert P. Horne

For as long as I can remember, the opportunity for creative release is what I enjoy most. One of my all-time favorite things to do when I was a young girl was to climb the tree over our chicken/rabbit/duck yard (pets, not food), and sit for hours in a comfortable cradle of branches. Many stories and poems, life decisions (for a 12-year old), and an abundance of creative ideas came from those "reTREEts."

Looking back, key components were in place for creative stimulation-which made me happiest: I was in a tree that energized my spirit while in my own private sit-spot with a nice view that required a bit of creative climbing and balance to access. Without any trees nearby to climb, how do I replicate this source of childhood inspiration? For daily inspiration, I keep nature as a part of my day-to-day life and I seek out alternative ways of looking at the world (like my perch up in a tree). For long term goals I focus on sources of happiness in my life now and allow my personal nature to create a plan of action (like the strategies below). How could you accomplish this for yourself?

One way is to take the time to devise a plan of action that will incorporate the root of your happiness as a new perspective toward a life change. For something different, try the following 13 strategies for successful goal setting inspired by trees, and a little tree climbing:

1. Make sure your tree (your idea/goal) is stable with numerous, deep roots. If you are not firmly rooted in the faith of your own ability and strength, others will tear you down before you have a chance to branch out and make your dreams a reality.

2. Choose a tree (your goal) that will weather the storm. Your goal should be clear and solid enough to endure set backs and obstacles.

3. Grow. Each step is like a growth ring; these are your possibilities, opportunities, and resources that expand and strengthen your support system.

4. Every tree is a community of life unto itself. If you can, make your goals the center of a community where you must take an active role in accomplishing your goals; inspire others by your progress.

5. Trees are ancient and often represent endurance and wisdom. Have patience and respond with wise decisions.

6. Stay flexible. Bend and sway with the storms instead of buckling. Be ready to change your course of action if something isn't working to keep your dream alive.

7. Go dormant. Stop and regroup if you need to refocus or re-evaluate your direction. Is your goal getting out of hand? Is it realistic, or something you still believe in? If not, re-invent yourself, or abandon your goal for a new, relevant, more inspiring one!

8. Keep climbing. You'll be making many intuitive decisions while following your dream, choose the best routes (the strongest branches) to keep you climbing upward.

9. Take the risk. Yes, climbing trees can be risky, so you must take precautions and look before you leap from branch to branch so you don't fall.

10. Branch out. Reach out for help. Everyone needs a little boost or help at sometime, welcome any positive support.

11. Provide yourself shelter from ridiculously negative influences (ants, sap, thorns, weak branches-in other words, negative nellies, self-sabotage, bad decisions).

12. Stand tall. Believe in your talents and ability. Believe in your strengths. Remember, tiny seeds transform into massive and majestic redwoods that withstand the test of time.

13. Have fun in your tree. Enjoy the process of achieving your dreams! This is a very special part of who you are, so you want to make sure it reflects your true nature and happiness.

Let your creative roots nourish your growth. Follow the intuitive path that is important to who you wish to become. Create opportunities that will incorporate the root of your happiness into your daily life and be willing to climb your tree to creative success with joy in your heart :)

Excerpt from: Finding Yourself in a Tree - Strategies For Creative Success

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coyote Haiku

The coyote’s song
Blesses my soulful journey,
Beautiful. Haunting.

Ready to go wild with your creativity? Take a lead from the highly adaptable and vocal coyote, aka Canis latrans, its scientific name meaning “barking dog.” Read a little about the vocalizations of this iconic canine, hear its song, and be sure to share your own!

Coyotes are found throughout North America, from Alaska to New England to Panama. I feel blessed whenever I hear their calls, whether I’m in the desert or the mountains. The coyote is one of the few wild animals whose vocalizations are commonly heard night or day (desertusa.com). They will howl, yip, bark and yelp to communicate with other individuals. Whether you feel a tingling, primitive instinct of fear, or smile when you hear its song, your first coyote howl in the wild is sure to stir your soul.

Below are some interpretations of common coyote vocalizations from DesertUSA.com:

Howling - communication with others in the area. Also, an announcement that “I am here and this is my area. Other males are invited to stay away but females are welcome to follow the sound of my voice. Please answer and let me know where you are so we don't have any unwanted conflicts.”
Yelping - a celebration or criticism within a small group of coyotes. Often heard during play among pups or young animals.
Bark - The bark is thought to be a threat display when a coyote is protecting a den or a kill.
Huffing - is usually used for calling pups without making a great deal of noise.

Listen to these wild coyote songs for creative inspiration! Ahhh, truly one of my favorite sounds :)

What is your song today?