Posts Tagged With: Nature Exchange

Attention Kids: How to reap rewards from nature

IMG_8457-4x6-Nature Exchange (800x533)Hey, kids and teens! Make a point this summer to score big points with a nature journal!

Seasoned traders as well as Nature Exchange newbies can reap big rewards by participating in the Nature Journal Contest sponsored by the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. Winners can really rake in the points: first prize wins a whopping 10,000 points, second prize earns 7,500 points, and third prize is worth 4,500 points.

All you have to do is record your observations while spending time in nature. You can record an entry during a trail hike, walk through a park or garden, a fossil hunt, a camping or fishing trip, or even while playing in your own backyard.

Kids Leaning in Nature Exchange, Cathy Burkey (800x533)You can’t win if you don’t try, but in the Nature Journal Contest, everyone who does try earns 500 points. That’s 500 points added to your Nature Exchange account, just for submitting an entry!

First, second, and third prizes will be awarded to each age group: 5-7 years, 8-10 years, 11-13 years, 14-17 years. Points can be redeemed at the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange, and do not expire.


Contest Rules:

  • Turn in a photocopy of your one page nature journal entry
  • Include the date, time, and weather, along with any written or rendered (draw, sketch, paint, photograph, etc.) observations of the plants and animals that you see
  • Only one entry per child

The deadline for submissions is September 7, 2015. Winners will be announced on September 21, 2015.

For those unfamiliar with the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange, it’s the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo’s wildly popular “swap shop,” where zoo guests can trade in nature items, earn points for those items – and even more points if you know a little bit about your items, and then use those points to buy cool stuff off the Nature Exchange shelves. There’s no money involved: just nature, knowledge, and listening skills! (Adults, please note that while the journal contest is for younger guests, folks of all ages enjoy trading at the Nature Exchange.)

Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family) | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A new (and really big!) window on the world

Children's Zoo interpreter, Gerald Bogan, magnifies a Gulf fritillary butterfly under the new microscope.

Children’s Zoo interpreter, Gerald Bogan, magnifies a Gulf fritillary butterfly.

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Did you know that a butterfly’s wings are full of tiny hairs? Or that the veins of a leaf look a lot like the ones in your body? Or that the richly colored eye spot on a polythemus moth’s rear wing is used to confuse predators?

Henry David Thoreau had an eye for nature, but he couldn’t have dreamed of this type of detail.

A new state-of-the-art microscope is taking nature discovery to another level at the Nature Exchange in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. Purchased with grant money from the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation, the $4,600 microscope has been on our “wish list” for many years. Now, children can see the natural world clearer and closer than ever before.

“We wouldn’t have been able to afford it without the grant,” said Children’s Zoo supervisor Melody Wood. “This microscope lets children develop a connection to their environment. In turn, we hope they’ll grow up to become stewards of the natural world.”

The Nature Exchange is a natural item swap shop, where children bring in things they’ve found in their yard and trade up for cooler natural items.

When the kids bring their items in, now they can see them magnified with the microscope and beamed up onto a 48-inch LED Smart HDTV.

“We use the microscope to magnify things like snake skin, insects, rocks, micro fossils and more,” said Ryan Wies, Children’s Zoo specialist. “This makes it more fun, because they’re part of the discovery process and they take more away from it.”

If your children don’t have natural items to swap, we highly suggest checking out all the neat things we already have. We’ll put anything you want under the microscope, if it fits!



Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family), Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brought to you by the Dallas Zoo