Whether you're hiking, camping or simply enjoying the outdoors in your backyard, there is so much to explore! You don't have to go far to find a rich diversity of animals, insects, plants and more! With the right tools and resources, you can learn about why a firefly glows, what native species inhabit the nearby woods, and which insects are roaming around your yard. Or grab a telescope and look to the skies to make amazing stellar observations. 

There is a world of adventure out there! What will you discover?

Backyard Scavenger Hunt: Making Plant Discoveries

What are all of those plants in your yard and in your neighborhood? Can you tell a woody plant from an herbaceous plant; a monocot from a dicot; a compound leaf from a simple leaf? How about a single flower versus an inflorescence? Join Ben Snyder, Manager of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture Greenhouse Education and Research Complex at Temple Ambler, as he guides on an a scavenger hunt of discovery. Ben will provide information on the different types of plants and tips on identifying plans that you can find right in your own environment. How many can you identify?

How to Use a Field Guide

Take a quick visit into your backyard or maybe closest wooded trail. There are so many plants and animals out there that no one could easily identify them all! That’s where field guides come in, an essential tool on your journey of discovery outdoors! In this video feature, join Kathy Salisbury, Director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, as she helps you learn more about the nature in your neighborhoods. She provides important information about how to use field guides to identify flowers, plants, and more!

How to Identify Plants

Plants are all around us. They nourish us and nurture us and often provide an oasis of calm during our busy days. But how much do you know about plants? Join Kathy Salisbury, Director of the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, as she shares some essential ways to identify plants while you are on your outdoor adventures! 

Making Insect Discoveries

Go on an insect scavenger hunt! How many types of insects can you find? In this collection of videos from Nat Geo Kids, learn about bees, butterflies, ants, ladybugs and much more!

Why Do Fireflies Glow?

The firefly is probably the Earth’s most famous bioluminescent species, with over 2,000 individual species. According to Science Insider, the secret to its light comes from two essential components: luciferin and luciferase. But while the firefly may have evolved its lantern as a form of protection, today the lightning bugs use their light as a species-specific mating ritual. Here’s what really happens inside the firefly’s lantern.

Learn About Birds of Prey and Carrion Birds

Did you know most birds of prey mate of life and have just one brood per season? Ospreys use some interesting material for their nests, including caution tape, clothing, even a flip flop will do. Highly territorial, bald eagles will lock talons and fight to the death! Unlike other birds of prey, vultures are social and like to hang out in groups. Cindy Ahern, Adjunct Instructor in the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture programs in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, provides invaluable insight into the wonders of bald eagles, great horned owls, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, osprey, turkey vultures and black vultures. Thank you to Scott Ahern for his wonderful images of birds of prey in the wild and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research for images of their invaluable rescue efforts.

Exploring and Protecting Creeks and Streams

We’re heading out into Temple University Ambler’s 187 acres to explore creeks and steams on campus with Mary Cortese, a Research Assistant with the Temple Ambler Field Station and  PhD candidate in Biology at Temple! Mary shares why these streams are important and how you can do your part to protect them!

Collecting Aquatics

It’s time to get your feet (and possibly more) wet! In this video from the  Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, Trisha travels into a stream to teach everyone the basics of collecting aquatic insects. Watch her do the river shuffle and talk about the proper use of a D-net! The Insectarium showcases one of the most diverse living arthropod collections in the United States. The museum is fully committed to educating the public about the environmental importance of arthropods. Video created by Trisha Nichols.

Identifying Our Aquatics Collection

In this second video from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, Trisha sorts out the sample (watch video above) and shows a couple of her favorite bioindicators in the stream. Video created by Trisha Nichols.

Leave What You Find

an antler laying on the grass

In this fun activity, Leave No Trace highlights the importance of leaving what you find, a concept that applies to all things that should remain undisturbed in the backcountry. Wildlife, fossils, petrified rock, and nests are examples of discoveries to leave for other people to enjoy. Photo by Leave No Trace.

Who's Hoo

An owl in a tree

We all share one planet! For this Leave No Trace activity, participants "switch" places with an animal and describe how they would feel if someone left trash in their home. Photo by Leave No Trace.

Reach for the Stars with the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers

It’s time for a star party and the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers are leading the way! What is a star party? It is a gathering of astronomers who set up telescopes and binoculars and share them with the public. The DVAA is providing all of the resources you need to keep looking up!

July 2021 Skywatching Tips from NASA

What are some skywatching highlights in July 2021? Venus blazes as the "Evening Star" following the sunset, with a much fainter planet Mars nearby. Catch their super close pairing on July 12. Plus, if you can find your way to dark skies, this is the best time of year to enjoy the magic of the Milky Way.

Getting Started With Stargazing

Learn important tips and insight into the steps you need to take to get into stargazing. This video covers establishing a location, useful beginner accessories, observing tips, using binoculars, and more! Resource suggested by the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers

Losing the Dark

Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. This video from the International Dark-Sky Association introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it.

Observing the Moon

As our closest neighbor, the Moon obviously holds a special place in the cosmos. In this video, learn how to best observe this favorite of amateur astronomers. Resource suggested by the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers

What is a Telescope? How does it work?

You point them at the sky and magic happens! But just how does a telescope work? Cine Kids shares the details on the workings of a telescope, types of telescopes and much more. Resource suggested by the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers

Your Place in the Universe

You are here. But just where is here in relation to everywhere else in the universe? This clip from Cosmic Voyages will help you find the answers. Resource suggested by the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers

The Known Universe

Travel through the Milky Way galaxy and beyond with the American Museum of Natural History! Join a guided flight through the universe with the Museum’s director of astrovisualization Carter Emmart. Emmart uses the new interactive data visualization software OpenSpace to take you to the outer reaches of the known universe.

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