Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Winding Down the Year: 2013 Top Ten Posts

Looking back over 2013, I appreciate you all joining us for the journey! Our family has enjoyed being out in nature over the last year. It always makes my heart sing when friends of Inside Outside Michiana share a resource or tell me your family was inspired to get outside by one of our posts.

In case you missed some of our posts from 2013, these were the most viewed:

1. Wellfield Botanic Garden Spring Marketplace--This is a beautiful botanic garden! We actually took a chilly winter walk there yesterday. They had several community gatherings there this last year, bringing together many natural resources and vendors in the greater area.

2. Potato Creek State Park Nature Center--We enjoyed this last winter and went sledding after! We have several great nature centers in the area, each with unique characteristics.

3. Nature Study, Soccer Mom Style--This is one of my favorite posts of the year, too. During soccer practice, I followed my preschooler around with the baby, discovering what the schoolyard had to offer in regards to nature. What a great learning and nature study opportunity!

4. Strawberry Picking--I can almost taste them now! We picked strawberries at Yoder's UPick in May and then went to the park. I included tips for picking strawberries with children and nature study applications.

5. Made in Michiana--This is a fun store in Downtown South Bend with many natural elements included in the artwork down by local artists. I just saw they are relocating, but will still stay in the downtown area. Watch for their new location on Facebook!

6. Maker Faire: A Tinkerer's Dream--What an inspiring festival in Fort Wayne! I truly was amazed with the creativity present. Plenty of nature present as well. I hope we all are exploring our creative sides a bit.

7. Bluebird Houses and Bat Boxes--As part of Third Fridays in Middlebury, I took the boys to the library to make a bluebird and bat box. The price was right, the materials were precut, and there was help when we ran into any snafus. Thanks to Middlebury Parks!

8. Places to Walk for Free or Low Cost in Elkhart--Elkhart has so many green spaces that are easily accessed for free.

9. Labor Day at Cobus Creek--We had fun at a church activity at Cobus Creek. While we had a picnic and recreational activities, the natural setting allowed us to explore the creek with other families. Beautiful natural space!

10. Meet New People Monday: Artist Grow--I started a new series last year that didn't go very far. I would like to bring it back in 2014! I started with Artist Grow, a unique natural artist. Read about him in the post!

Did you have any favorite Inside Outside Michiana posts in 2013? We've had great nature fun in 2013--here's to more great experiences in 2014!

Thinking of my own "favorites", I've enjoyed great training through Flying Wild, Hoosier Riverwatch, Project Learning Tree (a high ranker as well), Environmental Educators Association of Indiana, Indiana Master Naturalists (another high ranking post), Family Nature Clubs, and Outdoor Classrooms. I also enjoyed being involved with Nurturing Acorns (or "nature preschool" as my son calls it) at Woodlawn Nature Center and many other programs at Elkhart County Parks. I've enjoyed doing nature studies with inspiration of the Handbook of Nature Study and Outdoor Hour Challenge. I also just enjoyed exploring the Michiana area with the family. We also went to all the nature centers we could find! It's been great to explore my grandparent's property more and help serve them as an extended family. I also had a blast preparing classes for Children, Art & Nature. I started 30 Days of Nature Art and 31 Days of Nature Kindness as well. I'm looking forward to finishing both of these up in 2014! Our Town Elkhart was also an interesting experience! What a great nature filled year!