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Connect with Nature: Make Pressed Flowers
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Connect with Nature: Make Pressed Flowers

[caption id="attachment_33210" align="alignleft" width="160"]Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy[/caption] This post was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy. The art of pressed flowers spans cultures and time periods, from Victorian England to the Japanese art of ochibana.  Pressing flowers is a wonderful way to preserve your memory of a special day or a particularly good year for your garden. There are several ways to press them, but here we will go with the traditional (and energy-saving) method of using a heavy book. Choosing and picking flowers The easiest flowers to press are those with flat faces and thin stems. Larkspur, daisies, violets, primroses, snowdrops, and pansies are good candidates. More multidimensional flowers such as roses, tulips, and carnations, will require more preparation. It is best to split those in half or even better, to dry individual petals. Pick flowers that are as fresh as possible—those that are not wilted or browned. Pick your plants on a dry, sunny day, after the morning dew has dried off. It is important that the flowers are not wet, as they may become mouldy or darken during the pressing. It is also essential to press your plucked flowers as soon as possible, as they will begin to wilt or brown. If you cannot press them right away, store them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. pressed flowersSupplies needed

  • Flowers.
  • Sharp scissors or a small sharp knife.
  • Tweezers (optional).
  • A flower press or a heavy book. You can buy a flower press (or make your own!), but to keep it simple, instead use something you may already have around your home, such as a thick phone directory or an encyclopedia, or another weighted object that will allow your flowers to lie flat and unexposed to light and the elements.
  • Absorbent paper. To prevent damage to the book, such as staining, place the flowers between two sheets of an absorbent paper. Parchment paper, printer paper, or non-corrugated flat coffee filters work well. (Tip: Don’t use paper towels, as that may result in the inadvertent imprint of the towel’s pattern onto a pressed flower.)
  • A brick or heavy rock.
Instructions
  1. Trim and prep the flowers. Clip off stems completely or short enough to fit on the drying paper. You may need to gently manipulate petals with your thumb and forefinger to flatten them or look the way you want.
  2. Lay flowers flat. On a sheet of absorbent paper that fits within the pages of the heavy book, arrange flowers with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. They should be as flat as possible and spaced apart so they are not touching. Top with another sheet of paper.
  3. Place in book. Transfer the flower “sandwich” carefully into the heavy book. Close the book slowly, taking care that the flowers stay positioned as you arranged them. Place the brick on top of the book.
  4. Wait. Let dry for 10-14 days and check. Different types of flowers have different drying times, but those with less bulkiness will be fully dry, usually, within 3 weeks.
Once fully dried, keep pressed flowers stored between sheets of acid-free paper or in waxed envelopes. You can use pressed flowers in a variety of crafts and home decor, from a simple homemade card to a tasteful framed print. Acknowledgements: ProFlowers, RedTedArt, The Art of Pressed Flowers
 
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5 Fun Ways to Enjoy Nature on Family Day
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5 Fun Ways to Enjoy Nature on Family Day

[caption id="attachment_33210" align="alignleft" width="160"]Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy[/caption] This blog was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy. Today is Family Day in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and what better way to enjoy the long winter than partaking in some nature appreciation activities, whether you and your loved ones want to go outside or stay indoors! Look for wildlife wherever you are. Whether you’re in the city or country, animals are still around you during the wintertime. Go for a walk and record the types of animals and insects you see or hear — list them in a notebook or even sketch them. Observe birds and squirrels in your backyard or ducks at a nearby body of water. Set up a feeder on your porch or balcony to get a closer look at the birds in your NatureHood! While outside observing wildlife, check out our e-Book series for identification tips of various types of birds. Stargaze. Bundle up and grab a set of binoculars. One benefit of winter is that the early darkness gives younger children a chance to enjoy this activity. There are weather forecasts specifically for stargazing – for example, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Moncton. If you live in a city or highly lit area, try heading out to a designated dark sky area or preserve. A map from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada can you help locate a site. There are also several astronomy apps to help you read the sky — Star Chart and Night Sky Lite are both free ones. duck-ice Read together as a family. Cozy up with a thick blanket and mugs of hot cocoa, and read aloud your favourite books. There are many picture books on weather, animals, outdoor environments and other subjects in nature education and appreciation. Vancouver Public Library offers some recommendations to start you off such as Raindrops and Snowflakes and Natural Worlds. Go ice skating. Stay active together this winter! Tie up your skates and bring a thermos of hot chocolate to a nearby park, pond, lake or river. Near Vancouver, skaters can enjoy an 8,000-square-foot pond at Grouse Mountain. In Ottawa, the Rideau Canal Skateway offers up a free and exhilarating way to experience the brisk winter air and get moving during a sometimes dreary time of year. Make a nature-inspired craft. Get creative with found objects from the natural world (or sometimes, Michael’s or Value Village). Our blog offers several ideas, such as a pine cone wreath, a gourd bird feeder and walnut boats. Bring the outdoors inside as well by making a terrarium or a miniature fairy garden. Short on supplies and don’t feel like leaving the house? Use plain white printing paper and scissors to cut out snowflakes to display in your windows or paste on a card. What is your family doing on Family Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Nature Canada celebrates International Migratory Bird Day for third consecutive year
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Nature Canada celebrates International Migratory Bird Day for third consecutive year

OTTAWA – (May 29, 2014) Nature Canada is hosting a Bird Day Fair for all ages in Ottawa this Saturday, May 31, 2014. The Bird Day Fair celebrates the region’s migratory birds through educational activities, live demonstrations, nature walks and much more. Bird Day Fair is one of many events taking place this month as part of International Migratory Bird Day, an international initiative encouraging habitat conservation and increasing awareness of birds. “Bird Day Fair is a great chance for us to come together as a community to celebrate and have fun all while enjoying nature and learning about the birds and other wildlife that call this area home,” said Stephen Hazell, Interim Executive Director for Nature Canada. More than 40 Bird Day events have been hosted by communities from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island. Nature Canada’s Bird Day event, like many of the events held across the country, will take place inside an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). Bird Day Fair will take place in Andrew Haydon Park from 10am to 4pm and will feature bird banding, nature walks, crafts and activities, a live raptor demonstration and local groups who are working to protect wildlife. International Migratory Bird Day is an initiative led by Environment for the Americas. Nature Canada delivers Bird Day in Canada. -30- [one_half][separator headline="h2" title="About Nature Canada"] Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada. Nature Canada has delivered the Bird Day initiative in Canada since 2012.[/one_half] [one_half_last][separator headline="h2" title="About Bird Day"] International Migratory Bird Day is a project of Environment for the Americas and was created in 1993 to focus attention on the need to conserve birds and their habitats. Nature Canada is the official Canadian partner for International Migratory Bird Day. For more information, visit http://naturecanada.ca/initiatives/bird-day/.[/one_half_last] [separator headline="h2" title="Media Contacts"] (English and French) Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager, 613-562-3447 ext. 248 pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca (English) Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator, Nature Canada, 613-562-3447 ext 241, mtanaka@naturecanada.ca (French) Monette Gauvreau, Traductrice, 613-562-3447 ext 233, mgauvreau@naturecanada.ca

Come out to Bird Day Fair in Ottawa!
Photo by Rachel Thibodeau
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Come out to Bird Day Fair in Ottawa!

Join us for Bird Day Fair at Andrew Haydon Park, Saturday May 31st – 10am-4pm Just as our migratory birds are returning to Canada from their wintering grounds south of the border, a huge celebration is unfolding across the continent to celebrate birds – and you can be part of it! Bird Day is a celebration of migratory birds and the wild spaces they inhabit. Join Nature Canada in a celebration of the incredible migration journey of birds through a day of fun activities for the whole family. There will be nature walks, crafts and activities, a live raptor demonstration, and an opportunity to meet local groups working to protect wildlife. It's also a great opportunity to test drive our fantastic NEW app that helps you map local wildlife sightings. Several organizations like Ecology Ottawa, Wild Birds Unlimited, Nikon, Master Gardeners of Ottawa and others will be there to share information about their work. Check out our Facebook event page and our Bird Day pages on our website for more information on the day's events. We'll be giving away FREE bookmarks and Junior Birder Guidebooks in English and en Français on May 31 so be sure to come early! See below for the Bird Day Fair schedule of events. Photo by Rachel Thibodeau birdday2014 schedule of events for Bird Day Fair

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