| |You're never too young to learn about Nature!
The Nature Tots Program is designed to create a space for children to experience nature in an exciting and interactive way!
1) Tiger beetles - hunters on the sand!
Tiger beetles are small insects (half an inch long) that live all over sandy trails and dirt roads in our area. They can be brown and hard to see (“camouflaged”) or bright green and look like jewels! Tiger beetles hunt other small creatures like ants, flies, and small spiders. There’s always plenty to eat!
At least one kind of tiger beetle in Texas eats a really bad pest, the fire ant. Tiger beetles are an important part of their environment. Tiger beetles like to live where the ground is clean and not polluted, so when you see them running around it’s a good sign!
There are over 3000 species of tiger beetles in the world, and Dr. Dan Duran has described nine new species that were never known to science before! One of those new species is shown right here. It’s called Cicindela cyanipleura (pronounced: Sis-in-DEL-ah sigh-an-eh-PLOR-ah). The scientific name mean that it has blue sides. It’s only found near one volcano in Mexico!
Below is a link to a cool video about tiger beetles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNsf9kpbcDc
(Note: despite the somewhat religious sounding-title, this is not a religious film whatsoever. It’s just about tiger beetles and how amazing they are)
Craft: Beetle Paper Hand Puppet
What you need:
o Printable template
o Construction Paper (Assorted Colors) or Regular Paper (Best to use a heavier paper like cardstock)
o Colored Markers or Crayons
Optional: Wiggle Eye Stickers or Googly Eyes and Even Glitter.
Instructions, includes a YouTube video:
1. Print template or use as a model to design your own beetle.
2. Color all of the pieces (if using white paper) with markers or crayons. No need to stay within the lines.
3. Cut out all of the pieces. With construction paper – select colors, trace each part of your beetle, then cut out pieces.
4. Glue the “wings” onto the body of the beetle.
5. Draw or glue eyes on the face of your beetle or use the eyes from the template.
6. Fold the legs like an accordion to make them wigglier. Then, glue one end of each leg to the bottom of the beetle body.
7. Glue on hand strap to the bottom of the beetle. Now, you have your very own beetle to enjoy!!!