The Wilderness is Coming to Life


Spring continues to unfold in the wilderness. We are seeing new animals and insects every day. The plants are changing quickly. The air and water temperatures continue to rise, and the days seem incredibly long. Everywhere we look, we see life emerging in the wilderness.


We continue to see many birds. Some birds are migrating through, like the buffleheads and swans. Other birds are settling in for the summer, like loons, gulls, mergansers and mallards. Some birds have been here all winter, but they are behaving differently now. The grouse are drumming on logs and chickadees are happily singing.

What types of animals are active in your neighborhood in the spring and summer?

Share your answer!

We have heard amphibians lately too. At most campsites, we have heard a chorus of peeping in the evening. Those are frogs. They are called spring peepers because of the noise they make.

One type of reptile has caught our attention lately. Turtles have emerged from hibernation. On warm, sunny days we have seen turtles on logs or rocks near the water’s edge. They climb out of the water to warm up in the sun. The type of turtle we have seen lately is a northern slider, which is sometimes called a painted turtle.

A very small turtle wandered through our camp the other evening. Its shell was about the size of a quarter. We figure that it had just hatched. We watched it slowly crawl to the water. It sat at the water’s edge for a minute and then crawled in and swam away.



It seems like there are more insects every day. We have seen ants crawling around on the ground. A few butterflies have appeared. Last night a moth made its way into our tent.

The one insect that we have dreaded is here too– mosquitoes! Mosquitoes begin their life in the water. Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in calm pools of water usually. Then the eggs hatch into larvae that live in the water. Eventually the larvae become mosquitoes that fly around. I said that we have dreaded the mosquitoes because they bite animals, including people. Mosquito bites can be itchy!

Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? What do you do to prevent mosquito bites?

Share your answer!

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The plants are changing too. We are seeing all sorts of new shoots emerging from the ground. Buds are starting to open up on trees. The forest is looking a bit greener than it did just a week ago.

Plants are starting to grow in the water too. When we paddle through shallow, marshy areas we have seen lily pads emerging from the mucky bottom. I wonder how long it will take these lily pads to reach the top of the water.

What kinds of plants are growing where you live? Is the grass green? Do the trees have buds or leaves?

Share your answer!

We have even spotted a few flowers growing on sunny hillsides. As we portaged between Hudson Lake and Insula Lake, we saw violets growing out of a crack in the rock. I also noticed a strawberry plant that had one blossom. We look forward to seeing more plants and flowers– and sharing them with you.

Student Response Sheets





  1. shawn hofer
    Posted May 9, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    that was a very small animal

  2. nwoodworth
    Posted May 11, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    We’ve been seeing a lot of these tiny painted turtles too. These are actually hatchlings from last year! It is quite common for eggs to hatch in the fall and then the hatchlings remain in the nest over winter, emerging for the first time early the next spring. Sometimes they come out after hatching in the fall, especially if it is a warm fall, but it is not uncommon for them to overwinter in the nest! Pretty cool.

    Thanks for all the postings! It is very fun to feel like we’re a part of your journey & to be able to share your experiences with kids. 🙂

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