Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Hunting We Will Goooo!

No wait...not THAT type of hunting.  We are after all a nature center.  How does a nature scavenger hunt sound though?  Bring your kids.  Bring your cameras.  Let us know if you can find these things!

First of all, let me tell you where I went today.  I started at the trail head beginning at Bob Jones Nature Center.  If you come out and don't know what I mean by this, please stop in!  That's what we are here for.  I started down the Bluebird Trail and went all the way to the gate that leads out to the more than twenty miles of trail that connects us to all sorts of interesting destinations.

My destination today...Grapevine Lake!  There are a number of forks in the trail once you head out the gate.  The trail I took today to find all of the goodies in this post was as such:

Walk down the main trail until you see a fork in the trail, go left.  Go on the main trail until there in another very obvious fork in the trail and go left.  Walk until you come to a three way area and stay to the left.  Keep going until another obvious fork and again, go left.  On the way back, do the opposite.

I then came back through the gate, went to the right and continued the loop on Bluebird Trail all the way back to the nature center.

So Onward We Go!

1.  Can you find feathery leaves like these?


    Keep in mind that this tree will soon be completely bare so come out and look for it soon.  

   Another way to tell if you have the right tree is to check for thorns.

                                                     (these are from a Mesquite tree)

     2.  What about this's full of blue waxy berries this time of year.  Can you find it?

    This is a Red Cedar.
 Both the Mesquite tree and Red Cedar are a valuable food source for a variety of  wildlife.


     3.  Look for animal tracks.  Can you find some like this?


     4.  Or how about this?

      5.  How many are you able to find?


    (deer, coyote, turkey)

     6.  Look at this beautiful little seed pod.  I found these near the lake.  There isn't much left of them, but I am pretty sure they are English Plantain.  See if you can find them!

     7.  Here are some prickly pads among the trees...CACTUS!  Find them, take a picture, but  don't touch...ouch!

     8.  Shells!  I saw regular shells and fossilized shells.  Can you find some too?

     9.  This delicate beauty is a leaf skeleton.  You will have to look very carefully to find one of these.

     and drum roll....number ten....


10.  The mystery plant.  These were really neat and I really have no idea what they are.  Can you  figure it out?  They have mesmerizing seed pods and there are many of them along the beach.  If you walk gently through them, they softly rattle.  Try it!


Bonus Material....

first of all, the good stuff...Look at this view!

The not so good?

Well, I found these other items on my treasure hunt too.

They weren't pretty, but they were the ONLY thing I collected.  I hope if you see anything that doesn't belong, you will collect it too.  Throw it in the garbage or bring it back to the nature center and recycle anything that can be.

If you get a chance to do this treasure hunt, please send us some of your photos.  I would love to post them on our blog and along with any anecdotes you'd like to share about your own adventure.  Bonus points to whomever identifies our mystery plant!


What is your favorite natural 'treasure'?


  1. Number 10 is Sesbania vesicaria, commonly known as bag pod! I had noticed this plant also and wanted to find if the seeds, which resemble beans and are easy to harvest, had any uses. The only resource I found that mentioned this plant was a book called "Toxic Plants of Texas" which said the seeds are toxic due to the sesbaimide.

  2. Thanks for the info, Joseph! A few visitors have commented and thought they might be Rattle Pods, but it seems that this is just another name for a type of Sesbania. I guess it makes sense that they are toxic considering many of the seed pods I know to be edible have obviously been foraged on...but not these! This was a very full stand.

  3. Their common name is also Bladder Pod.

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