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, October 28, 2011

From the archives: Creature “Spirits”

It's a busy little Halloween weekend here at Caliso, so we pulled a spooktacular post from the archives of witch--ooops, which we think you ghouls will enjoy!

It covers the paranormal--actually it covers the very normal activities and sounds of familiar creatures that just may explain the ghostly scream you heard beyond the trees, or why certain objects keep moving mysteriously around your home.

Please note that the links at the end of the post are not linking directly anymore. All we had to do was copy/paste the links to listen to the eerie wild animal calls; but oh so worth it as they are sure to send a chill down your spine (they sound amazingly like a human screams, and even a baby crying).

So, click on "Creature Spirits" below...if you dare. Mwahahahaaa!

Restore Your (Family) Nature: Creature “Spirits”: Confession time. I’m a huge fan of all shows that chase after evidence of ghosts, cryptozoological creatures (like Bigfoot), and UFOs. I can...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leaf Me Never: Fall Leaf Garland Craft

Ah fall, quite possibly my FAVORITE time of year. For this desert native, I love autumn and the cooler temperatures it brings—perfect for hiking, camping, and just hanging outside, taking in nature. This family activity is a great craft to complete outdoors this time of year! It is easy and fun to create using nature’s beautiful fall leaves or at least being inspired by them. With this idea you can make a fall garland, a leaf booklet (use the hole and ribbon to create your book bind), a family portrait garland, place tags for a family dinner, or what ever else your creative mind takes you. Let’s grab some leaves and have fun!
You’ll need: Leaves (fake or real…if real, make sure they are still soft and bendy), glitter (think fall gold, orange, red, brown, yellow), hole puncher, glue, ribbon, scissors.
But we also recommend plastic or wax paper surface as glue will seep through leaves, family photos, mini clamps for holding pictures in place while drying, wire or wire ribbon for tendril affect.


Collect your leaves (even more adventurous to collect REAL fall leaves if those are available to you—just make sure they’re still soft and bendy). We used fake leaves because, well, we don’t have “fall” in the desert! You could make mini-garlands (faerie garlands) with smaller native leaves, something we’ll try some other day.

Make a hole with the hole punch near the top center of the leaf. Depending on how you want to hang them, that could be at the leaf stem, leaf tip, from the side or even near the center of the leaf.
Decorate your leaves. Here are some ideas: use a pen to draw, write messages, poems, jokes, or your favorite quote, glue glitter in designs or on the leaf edges, glue photos on the leaves and decorate with each one with glittery frames. Little ones can just dab glue about randomly and shake on some glitter…it will look fabulous! Sometimes it’s nice to leave some leaves blank to string in between your glittery delights, but how it’s made is entirely up to you!

Let your leaves completely dry before stringing! This is a good time for a snack break, take your nap, do your homework, or run around the yard for play exercise. You also could pick up the dog droppings or wash the dishes for mom or dad, but I was just thinking outloud.

String leaves for hanging. Leave about 6”—8” of ribbon (or wire) on each end for tying loops for hanging. String through the holes your punched earlier. We recommend looping the ribbon (or wire) around stems to keep leaves in place on your garland, or you can double loop the ribbon through the hole, this will also hold your leaf in place and keep in from sliding along the garland. If you are stringing through the center of the leave, try tying a loose knot on either side (both sides of your leaf) to help keep it from sliding. If using wire (our preference), be sure to leave lots of extra for making tendrils and still having enough left over for the end of your garland! You can always add wire at stems for a seamless line :)

For tendrils…wrap wire around a pencil or your finger. Remove finger or pencil ;) 

Ready to hang! Decorate a fall basket, a centerpiece, archway, outdoor niche, the gate or front door…hang your fall treasure anywhere you wish to enjoy.

Let us know how it goes, share photos of your garlands and any tips with us!