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Ignite the Spark for Learning about Nature

It was a cold, drizzly early morning—7:30 am on Sunday. My mother roused me out of bed every Sunday for six weeks in the spring to accompany her on the “bird walks” organized by the Cleveland Audubon Society in one of the nearby Metroparks. I was at that surly teen age, probably 13 or 14.

Looking for Great Horned Owls

We are sitting at home, while frigid winds blow outside. It’s hard to believe that in the dead of winter some birds are already nesting. The Great Horned Owl is one of the first. Among all birds the owls are some of the most fascinating. Here in the Asheville area there are four species of

How to press and dry plants

What child has never made a leaf collection?  Children (of all ages!) love to pick up and save perfectly formed specimens of colorful fall leaves.  It’s fun to collect many types of plants and plant parts, from wildflowers to fern fronds.  You might wish to press leaves and flowers to make decorative items such as

Stereoscopes vs. Microscopes

We are often asked to distinguish between a stereoscope vs. a microscope. What is the difference between a stereoscope and a microscope? A stereoscope is a binocular microscope (also known as a "dissecting microscope") that magnifies at a relatively low power for viewing three-dimensional, opaque objects, such as flowers, insects, mineral specimens, fossils, coins, or

How to Use a Hand Lens Magnifier

It takes a little practice to learn how to use a hand lens magnifier. Usually when folks come in the store and want to look at magnifiers, they begin looking at them by holding the instrument out at arm's length.  Actually you get the best view of the subject by holding the lens as close