Taking Flight

Have you ever wondered how an airplane takes off from the ground and maintains flight?  Understanding how forces affect a plane’s flight is important in knowing how the plane moves and the factors that can affect flight.  The main four forces are:

Lift-When pressure above the wings of the plan are low and the pressure under the wings is high along with increased speed of the plane.

Thrust-the force that generates lifts by pushing or pulling an aircraft forward.


Drag- Outside forces including air friction and air resistance that will slow the plane down.

Gravity- natural phenomenon that pulls any object down.

Do you want to see these forces in action?

Build a paper airplane and fly it across the room.  How does it move?  How long does it fly?  What can be done to improve the flight?

Need help in building a paper airplane or want new ideas in building check out Fold’NFly to help you with designs.



Horton, B. (2006). Science Fun with Flight. Ohio State University Extension. Can be purchased at http://extensionpubs.osu.edu

(2021) Fold’NFly. Retrieved from https://www.foldnfly.com/#/1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2


Looking for more computer science opportunities? Contact your local OSU Extension Office to learn about programs offered in your area!


Peer-reviewed by Margo Long, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Marion County

Far Out Food Science

By Cheryl Goodrich, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Monroe County

In April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. His spacecraft made one orbit around Earth in a flight that lasted 108 minutes. Over the years, the amount of time that astronauts were able to stay in space increased from hours, to days, to weeks, to months and eventually to more than a year. Valeri Polyakov currently holds the record for the longest consecutive stay in space at 437 days, from January of 1994 to March of 1995.

Staying in space for such a long time would not be possible without food scientists and nutritionists who have found ways to supply food for astronauts on these long missions. Many people think that astronauts only eat freeze-dried rations that come in foil packages. While that may have been the case at one time, food science has come a long way over the years.

Check out this video of a former astronaut explaining what it’s like to eat in space:

Are you interested in food science? There are a wide variety of careers in food science and technology. Food scientists solve problems like how to preserve foods by freezing, drying, or canning and still have them taste good. They might look for ways to make milk and other dairy products last longer. Some food scientists study the types of foods preferred by consumers to help companies develop and market new products.

Ready to try a food experiment of your own? Use this recipe to make a single-serving chocolate cake in just one minute.

World’s Best Minute Chocolate Cake

If your cake is a success, maybe your next project could be developing a better ice cream for the astronauts!



Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

One Year in Space: A History of Ultra-Long Missions Off Planet Earth

What is Food Science?

The Coding Force is with YOU

By: Margo Long, OSU Extension Education, 4-H Youth Development, Marion County

may the force be with you

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a galaxy far, far away with your own trusty droid like BB-8, C-3PO or R2-D2? Well, here’s your chance!

Thanks to Code.org, the Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code program allows learners of all ages get an introductory experience with coding and computer science in a safe, supportive environment.

With the opportunity learning two computer languages, youth will work with Rey and Princess Leia to guide BB-8 through simple missions, and build a game featuring C-3PO and R2-D2.


What is block-based coding?

Block coding screenshotUtilizing a drag-and-drop learning environment, youth use blocks which are described as “chunks” or “pieces” of instructions a user puts together to tell their creation what to do.

This is definitely an entry-level form of computing to allow youth to gain a foundation in computational thinking through visuals, rather than text.

The first option uses drag-drop blocks. This version works best for:

  • Students on mobile devices without keyboards
  • Younger students (6+ because the tutorial requires reading)
  • International students

Click here to build your own Star Wars game using block coding.


What is JavaScript?

JavaScript coding screenshotAs one of the most popular forms of programming languages and known as the “programming language of the web,” it is used by computer programmers in combination with HTML and CSS to make up core components of web technology; however, it can always be used for app and game development.

This option teaches the same basic concepts, but because it uses both drag-drop blocks and JavaScript, the students need to be able to type on a keyboard. For older students on computers, learning JavaScript can be fun and provide an additional challenge. This version of the tutorial is also great if you have some students in your class who have already learned some coding. It is recommended for ages 11+.

Ready for another challenge? Click here to build your own Star Wars game using JavaScript.

Looking for more computer science opportunities? Contact your local OSU Extension Office to learn about programs offered in your area!


Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://code.org/starwars

Peer-reviewed by Danielle Combs, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Highland County



April’s Citizen Science Series: final thoughts

By Travis West, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Vinton County

This month we’ve highlighted dozens of science challenges, teaching resources, and science projects, events, and learning opportunities to connect your hobbies, interests, and curiosities to hands-on activities or to a citizen science project!

April’s Citizen Science Series: What’s Citizen Science Anyways?

Simple, Authentic, and Impactful

Citizen Science is engaging adults and children in advancing science, technology, and innovation on the local, state, and national levels. According to scistarter.org, there are four common features to a citizen science opportunity, they’re:

  1. Open to everyone that has an interest
  2. Use a standard process and protocol for collect data so data sets can be easily compiled
  3. Data helps real scientists develop real conclusions
  4. Scientists and volunteers are working together to share data with the public

Photo source: https://www.wxxi.org/education/citizenscience/get-involved-citizen-science-projects

Citizen science experiences are flexible, some take a few minutes, some a couple of months, others longer, so find the right science opportunity that fits your schedule. The fields that citizen science advances are diverse as well, such as ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science, statistics, psychology, genetics, engineering, and many more.

Citizen science (also known as community science, crowd science, crowd-sourced science, civic science, or volunteer monitoring) is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur scientists. Citizen science is sometimes described as “public participation in scientific research,” participatory monitoring, and participatory action research whose outcomes are often advancements in scientific research by improving the scientific community capacity, as well as increasing the public’s understanding of science.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Explore the “ISeeChange” project in SciStarter.com to see how 5 minutes a week can help document our changing climate here on Earth. 



Sciestarter Project Finder

The Field Guide to Citizen Science

National Geographics Citizen Science Projects

Anecdata Citizen Science Platform

Society for Science, Research at Home: Citizen Science

Citizen Science Month

Peer-reviewed by: Christy Millhouse, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Preble County, and Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County.

Eco April’s: Freaky Frogs

By Tracy Winters, OSU Extension Education, 4-H Youth Development, Gallia County

TrekOhio, Eastern American Toad (Bufo americanus americanus) https://trekohio.com/2012/03/17/ohio-frogs-toads/

When we think about amphibians, frogs and toads are normally the first to come to mind. Here in Ohio the Northern Spring Peepers officially welcome the coming of spring in late February or early March with their mating calls. As we move into the warmer summer months of March through May the familiar long trill mating call of the Eastern American Toad fills the air.

FUN FACT: all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads 

It is true, from a biological standpoint, all frogs and toads are in the scientific order Anura; it is within this order of frogs, that toads and frogs are separated out into families. Ohio is home to 15 species of frogs and toads in 4 families:

Ohio’s Frog and Toad Species, http://ohioamphibians.com/frogs/frogspecies.html

Frogs vs Toads

Ohio toads are:

  • Thicker, bumpy, waterproof skin
  • A parotoid gland that secretes toxins to their skin making them poisonous
  • Normal size eyes for their size
  • Stout, broad bodies, with shorter legs, suited for crawling and digging
  • Crawl or make short hops to move about
  • Lay eggs in long chains, sometimes attached to grass, or sticks in water

Frog eggs

  • Travel away from water, living in fields, wooded areas, lawns, and gardens
  • Carnivorous as adults, catching their prey with a long sticky tongue and broad strong mouth
  • Swallow food whole
  • Absorb water through an area called a drinking patch
  • Normally sit still and try to blend into their surroundings
  • Lifespan varies, T]the common toad (Bufo bufo) lives up to 40 years, but most toad species live about 5 to 10 years.

Ohio toads are:

  • Smooth, moist, slimy-looking skin
  • Mostly stay near water, except some tree frogs

TrekOhio, American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), https://trekohio.com/2012/03/17/ohio-frogs-toads/

  • Most are not poisonous; however, the Poisonous Dart frog (not in Ohio) is very poisonous
  • When approached most frogs will leap to the safety of nearby water, except tree frogs who try to blend in with their environment
  • Usually have big bulging eyes
  • Are quick and hop long distances
  • Long and lean bodies, with back legs that are normally longer than their body
  • Lay eggs in large round clusters or masses that float near the water’s surface

Toad eggs

  • Are carnivorous and catch prey with long sticky tongues
  • Some have teeth-like structures called maxillary or vomerine teeth in the roof of their mouth, that help hold prey but are not used for chewing
  • Swallow food whole
  • Absorb water through an area called the drinking patch
  • Lifespans vary, Bullfrogs have been found to live up to nine years in the wild, and 16 years in captivity, but on average frogs live between four and fifteen years.

While reading about frogs can be fun, observing them is better! In this lesson plan, you will learn how to raise your own frog from egg to tadpole to frog! (Be sure to check your state’s fishing regulations on frogs before collecting eggs. Frog eggs can also be purchased from science education suppliers.)

Freepik, https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/life-cycle-frog-frog-life-cycle-stages-set-with-adult-animal-fertilized-eggs-jelly-mass-tadpole_10844875.htm

Amphibian Habitat Projects

Did you know that amphibian species are disappearing at an alarming rate all over our planet? Scientists believe this decline is due to a combination of pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. What can we do to help?

  • Protect existing habitat: educate others about the importance of protecting woodlands, wetlands, and keeping our watersheds healthy
  • Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides, amphibians are highly susceptible to them due to their absorbent skin
  • Participate in scientific monitoring projects like “Frogwatch USA” and The Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey
  • Create your own amphibian habitat

Rehabilitation wildlife projects, https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/country-and-farming/new-project-help-yorkshires-amphibian-population-and-restore-wildlife-habitats-given-major-cash-boost-3069491

Three backyard habitat improvement projects for amphibians

  • Build a water feature in your backyard. You can choose between building a backyard pond, making a small backyard marsh area, or even creating a container pond using large shallow containers or watering tubs
  • Create a toad abode! Your toad abode will provide shelter from the heat and predators
  • Create a food source or area for foraging. Remember amphibians are carnivores and feed on worms, grubs, and other insects. Suitable foraging areas include compost piles, log piles, or any place that provide shade, and decomposing materials that attract invertebrates

Amphibian pond design, https://www.bhhuatra.com/en/amphibian-pond-design

To create a toad abode, turn a ceramic flowerpot upside down, add a toad-sized hole in the side for an entrance, or prop it up with a rock to allow the toad access. Abodes with dirt floors are best to allow toads to dig. Place your toad abode in a shady spot near a water source, such as a small pond or even a larger saucer of water.

Toad house

Citizen science (also known as community science, crowd science, crowd-sourced science, civic science, or volunteer monitoring) is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur scientists. Citizen science is sometimes described as “public participation in scientific research,” participatory monitoring, and participatory action research whose outcomes are often advancements in scientific research by improving the scientific community capacity, as well as increasing the public’s understanding of science.


Spring into STEM: Freaky Friday Frogs Lesson Plan





Frog Metamorphosis Observation Sheet




TAKE ACTION TODAY: Check out Frogwatch USA – this citizen science program provides opportunities to learn about and gather information on the health of wetlands in your community by reporting frog species present by identifying their calls.


Ohio Amphibians.com, http://www.ohioamphibians.com/index.html

The Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey, http://www.ohioamphibians.com/frogs/callsurvey/index.html

Amphibians of Ohio field guide Division of Wildlife, https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/0/90535/files/2020/06/Amphibians.pdf

The Buzz Forest Preserve District of Will County, https://www.reconnectwithnature.org/news-events/the-buzz/what-s-the-difference-frog-vs-toad

Reptiles Guide Frogs vs. Toads, https://reptile.guide/frogs-vs-toads/

Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Northeastern United States, http://northeastparc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Final-NE-HMG.pdf

TrekOhio, Hiking the Parks & Preserves of Ohio, https://trekohio.com/2012/03/17/ohio-frogs-toads/

Peer-reviewed by: Peer-reviewed by: By Travis West, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Vinton County; Jessica George, OSU Extension, 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Erie County; Kelly Royalty, OSU Extension, 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Clermont County; Demetria Woods, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Miami County; and Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County.

Eco April’s: Throwback to Nature

By: Christy Millhouse, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Preble County

Growing up in the ’80s, my sister and I spent a lot of time outdoors. We played in the small creek along with my parent’s property and in my grandparent’s woods. When we were in early elementary school, we spent a lot of time playing at my grandparent’s house underneath 4 apple trees that grew together and created a little world below them. Being outdoors was an important part of our growing up. How did you experience nature as a child?

Today, many young people are more connected to electronic devices like phones, video games, and television and less connected to nature. In the article Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature author, Danielle Cohen, writes “the average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.” I am old enough to remember when we only had 3 channel choices on television and programming ended at midnight. Smartphones were something in science fiction. My children, who are both young adults, have never known a time when there were not multiple options to watch on television around the clock. Both have had smartphones for many years and rely on them for communication, connection, and information. My son, while not exclusively, communicates with several friends on what is now called game night where they are playing video games and talking together each from their own homes. With our busy lives and house in town, we have struggled with offering options to play in nature which is ironic since my husband has a parks and recreation background.

In 2005, Richard Louv introduced the phrase nature-deficit disorder. He explains that the term was a way to describe the “human cost of alienation from nature” (Louv, 2019). The term has come to represent the idea that children are spending less time outdoors and that leads to behavioral problems. Many believe that this separation from nature leads to higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, childhood obesity along other things. Play is an important part of being a child. It helps with both cognitive and social development. Play aids children with the development of gross motor skills. Research suggests that there are also mental health benefits associated with playing in nature.

Now that spring is here and the weather is warming, it is the perfect time to get back outside. It does not have to be something major like a camping trip. It can be a walk around town or to a local park. Sitting around the campfire and gazing at the stars, sharing a picnic, or enjoying an outdoor sport can be other ways to connect with nature. Whatever you choose, it will benefit you and your family.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Become a citizen-scientist by surveying this diversity of insects and plants in your own backyard, schoolyard, or neighborhood, click here for more info.



Spring into STEM: Getting Back to Nature Lesson Plan 



Cohen, D. (n.d.). Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature. Retrieved from childmind.org: https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/ 

Louv, R. (2019, October 15). What is Nature-Deficit Disorder? Retrieved from richardlouv.com: http://richardlouv.com/blog/what-is-nature-deficit-disorder/

Suttie, J. (2016, September 15). How to Protect Kids from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Retrieved from Greater Good Magazine: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_protect_kids_from_nature_deficit_disorder

Peer-reviewed by: By Travis West, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Vinton County, and By Jessica George, OSU Extension, 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Erie County.

Eco April’s: Insect Detectives, Family Fun with Insects

By: Demetria Woods, OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Miami County

Although the creepy crawly critters benefit our world in many ways, insects often get a bad reputation because people are afraid of them. How do we help dispel those fears and create future insect ambassadors? One way is by educating people about the beneficial characteristics of insects at a young age by planning family fun buggy activities.

Insects Aid People and Our Environment

Did you know insects help pollinate most flowering plants and crops? They clean up waste products such as dead animals, plants, and dung. Some insects serve as pest control by eating pests that devour crops. They also serve as food for many animals and some people (Source: Benefits of Insects). Scroll through this selection of bug-friendly books.

Learn About Insects in Your Area

There are more than 925,000 different identified insect species. Check out insectidentification.org to find out more about bugs in your state.

Discuss Bug Safety

Sometimes we must be careful around stinging insects like wasps, bees, or yellow jackets. Screaming and flailing arms may cause them to go into defense mode and strikeout. Exemplify bug positivity. Most are harmless. Remind children to remain calm or observe from a distance.

Do a Backyard Bug Count

Gather paper, a pencil, and a clipboard. Go to your backyard or a park. Write down the insects you expect to find. Leave a few spaces blank for insects that you may encounter that you did not discuss. Place a mark beside the name of each insect you find. With this activity, you will observe and count – not pick up any insects. How many did you find?

Make a Nature Bug

Gather natural items from your backyard or a park such as leaves, twigs, pinecones, flowers, acorns, and seed pods. You will also need cardboard pieces, tacky glue, and a marker. Layout natural materials on the cardboard in the shape of an insect. Glue the nature bug onto a piece of cardboard. Write the name of your insect on the cardboard.

Visit a Zoo, Museum, or Nature Center with a Live Bug Exhibit

Observe these fascinating creatures up close. Learn more about their unique qualities in an educational environment. The Ohio State University’s Department of Entomology has two locations for the Bug Zoo. One is located on the Columbus Campus and the other is on the Wooster campus.

New bug zoom on the Wooster Campus

Design a Bug Bingo Game

Repurpose old bingo cards by placing insect stickers over the numbers, using cardstock, designing new cards, and drawing your favorite insects in the squares. Write down the name of each insect featured on the cards on small pieces of paper. Place the papers in a bowl for the caller to choose them at random. For a more challenging twist, instead of names, write down fun facts about each insect for the caller to use. Participants must call out the name of the insect before covering the bingo square.

Have an Insect Movie Night

Watch a movie featuring insect characters. Did you know there is an insect that looks like popcorn? Check out this video of the Planthopper Nymph from Ecuador.

Remember, “Insects are a great way to teach children about science and respect for the natural world” (Source: Six-Legged Creatures Make Great Teachers! 8 Ideas for Buggy Fun). Have fun as a family raising the next generation of insect ambassadors.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Raise awareness and appreciation of insects by telling others of the innumerable ways insects benefit the world.


Spring into STEM: Insect Detectives Lesson Plan


Eco April’s: Code for Good, Life on Land Coding Challenge

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County

Kids today will inherit the Earth of tomorrow, so it’s important to start their “eco-education” early. Interactive games and programming projects are great ways to educate and empower kids to take greener actions in life. Coding is also a great way to provide technical skills that enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. In this lesson, we hope to inspire students by reminding them that games and coding can teach and promote positive change in the world.

Life on Land coding challenge explores the importance of forests to the world’s ecosystem. Students can play with working projects and advanced programmers can create their own original projects.

Students will use their coding skills to create a project in Tynker that shows the importance of the world’s forest with code. When they’re done with this tutorial, encourage them to get creative.


  • Students will explore why trees are important to us as they complete the activities in this coding challenge.
  • Apply coding concepts and code blocks to create a Life on Land project.

Photo source: https://thestempedia.com/blog/best-free-coding-websites-for-kids-to-learn-to-code/


This activity is designed for self-directed learning. The parent/teacher’s role will be to help kid(s) individually complete the coding activities on their own. How to prep:

  • Get familiar with Tynker and how to set up free online accounts read, Quick Guide for Tynker Teachers.
  • Get familiar with material: read through this lesson guide and complete the activity before assigning it to kids. This helps with troubleshooting and answering questions.
  • Get kid(s) excited about coding before starting the lesson by playing an inspiring video.
  • OPTIONAL, sign up for a free teachers/parent account. This allows access to teacher guides, answer keys, and additional resources such as monitor kids’ progress and seeing their projects and allows printing certificates to hand out to kids.


Part 1:

  • Play short video, All Aboard for Global Goals, Thomas & Friends (1:14)
  • Play short video, Goal #15, All Aboard for Global Goals, Thomas & Friends (1:31)
  • Lead a discussion:
    • What is a forest? (Answer: a large area of land that has a lot of trees.)
    • True or false: Forests cover ⅓ of Earth’s land (Answer: True.)
    • What do you think lives in a forest? (Answer: plants, animals, )
    • Can you name animals that live in the trees or the forest? (Examples: monkeys, ants, butterflies, koalas.)
  • Tell kids that they are going to use Tynker in an upcoming activity to program a Life on Land project. Before students start coding, ask them to complete the “Goal 15: Life on Land” assignment (located on the next page) as an in-class activity.
  • Have students use the Goal 15 activity sheet to create an outline for their coding

Part 2:

  • Once kid(s) have an understanding of sustainable development goals they can start the second part which is the DIY coding module.
  • Go to “Page 3” of the Tynker tutorial and show students the provided examples to play, refer to the image below. How to play: Click the stage to plant seeds that will grow into trees!
  • OPTIONAL: read the Life on Land tutorial out loud to your students.

DIY MODULE (30-min.)

Help kid(s) complete the Life on Land module on their own:

  • Kid(s) will create an open-ended project that demonstrates the importance of trees and determine which code blocks to use.
  • Point to “Page 3” of the tutorial and have a kid(s) become inspired by clicking on the example projects and remind kid(s) of their sustainability goal.
  • Ask kid(s) to add a background and actor(s) to their project. They can also draw their own artwork or select images from the media library.
  • If a kid(s) are having difficulty drawing their own actors, play this Tynker support video.
  • Are kid(s) on the code block tab and want to return to the tutorial, ask them to click on this icon:


Encourage kid(s) to connect with nature by taking them on a short trip outside or to a park or school yard. As a kid(s) start exploring, point out different plants and animals and tell them to sketch them in a notebook.

Photo source: https://www.edutopia.org/article/outdoor-adventures-students


All kids can make their mark, and any effort, large or small, makes a big difference. Creative kids will grow up to be the inventors of tomorrow who create games and computer programs to change the world for the better.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Become an Earth-minded eater (try eating more meat-free meals, buy local and organic, do not waste food, and buy reusable, non-plastic products, e.g., peanut butter in a glass contain not plastic.)


Life on Land Coding Challenge Lesson  





Peer-reviewed by Tracy Winters, OSU Extension Education, 4-H Youth Development, Gallia County, and Travis West, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Vinton County.

Eco April: Build a Bird Feeder, Feeding Backyard Birds to Improve Your Health

By Kelly Royalty, OSU Extension, 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Clermont County

Image source: https://www.curioushalt.com/10-easy-diy-recycle-crafts-can-home/

As a child, I remember going to “feed the birds,” with my Grandma.  She would drive to a parking lot and throw out breadcrumbs and what seemed like hundreds of birds would come flocking around us. To this day, I still have a fear of birds. However, I think her real intent was to immerse us in nature and help us gain an appreciation for being in the moment, doing nothing but watching the birds. At the time, I did not understand the benefits of “feeding the birds.”  While I do not recommend my Grandma’s particular method, several studies have shown that feeding our backyard birds can improve our mental health.

According to a study conducted by Cox and Gaston (2016), “the act of maintaining and watching a bird feeder increased self-reported feeling of relaxation, so contributing towards reduced levels of stress.” Stress reduction is not the only benefit of bird watching; it is a great way to recover after virtual meetings or school as it provides an opportunity for quiet reflection and can create a sense of belonging and connectedness to nature. For many birders, bird watching becomes a life-long hobby and even leads to new hobbies such as photography.

Image source: http://mother2motherblog.com/tag/attracting-backyard-birds/

Participate in Ohio 4-H Spring into STEM: Maker Monday by creating your own Upcycled Backyard Perch Birdfeeder (lesson.) Then, sit quietly admiring your work, watching the birds, and observing the sights and sounds around you. Here is an observation sheet if you want to document the birds that visit your feeder.  Hopefully, this activity will leave you feeling calmer and refreshed.

If you want to learn more about birds, youth can enroll in their local 4-H program and take the Ohio Birds project. The project book is currently available free of charge as part of our effort to keeps kids engaged while staying at home. You can check with your local park district for bird-watching programs and opportunities.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Contribute to sharing your observations with eBrid or Project FeederWater, citizen science projects designed to help scientists with the understanding and conservation of birds.

Cox, D. T., & Gaston, K. J. (2016). Urban Bird Feeding: Connecting People with Nature. PloS one, 11(7), e0158717. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158717


The official Ohio checklist stands at 443 species and a species pair as of March 2021. The checklist follows the nomenclature and taxonomic sequence of the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-List of North and Middle American Birds through the Sixty-first Supplement (July 2020).

 Ohio Birds project

Upcycled Backyard Perch Birdfeeder Lesson

Birds of Ohio Field Checklist

Ohio Bird Lists

8 Easy Ways to Identify Backyard Birds

Peer-reviewed Tracy Winters, OSU Extension Education, 4-H Youth Development, Gallia County, and by Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County.

Eco April: Spend Sunday Outdoors, Experiencing Nature’s Superpower

By Jessica George, OSU Extension, 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, Erie County

Image source: https://pixabay.com/

Was it a spot in the woods? How about a climbing tree down the street? Maybe the shady cover of your trampoline? For me, it was a hidden corner behind a bush on the north side of my garage. That was my safe space to explore everything about the world, or what my 6-year-old-self thought was the whole world. I would turn over the large rocks that had been discarded by my parents to find a world of creatures to explore and discover. Behind that bush, I experienced nature in a whole new way. I felt free to let my curiosity lead behind that bush, free to engage with the objects around me, free to touch, smell, listen, look.

Nature’s Superpowers

Why is it that nearly 30 years later I still think about that special space behind my garage? Well, I believe that nature has some serious superpowers and what 6-year-old doesn’t love some superpowers! Research continues to show that creating opportunities for young people to be outdoors improves their chance of future health and success. Spending time in nature contributes to physical, mental, and emotional health. Psychologists have been actively researching the role nature plays in children’s mental health since the early 1980s with numerous studies revealing that outdoor activities are essential for developing minds. The benefits that nature offers us are abundant, but we must get out and experience them!

So grab the little people in your life and spend some time outside today. Take a walk in the woods, explore the different animals living in your neighborhood, spend some time observing the sky, sit and listen to a creek flow. With all that nature has to offer us, we’d better get out and explore it! The future of our planet depends on it. Literally!

Research shows a link between a youth’s experiences in nature and their attitudes and behaviors toward nature later in life. A 2006 study published in Children, Youth and Environments (Vol. 16, No. 1) by Nancy M. Wells, Ph.D., suggests that building a connection to nature during childhood may lead to adult environmentalism. If we want to build up a generation of youth committed to environmental consciousness, we need to start by engaging them in nature and helping them experience nature’s superpowers!

Image source: https://content.thriveglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pexels-photo-346796.jpeg

Need an idea to get started? Try our Spend Sunday Outdoors: Environmental Scavenger Hunt Lesson.

Looking for a place to explore? Check out TrailLink to find an Ohio Hiking Trail near you!

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Show your love for the outdoors even when you are indoors by greening up your home: recycle, conserve water, use renewable power when possible, switch to LED bulbs.

Post References

Environmental Explorer Scavenger Hunt Lesson

Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive

Ohio Hiking Trails and Maps

Peer-reviewed Travis West, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Vinton County, and by Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County.