I was so glad that we were all over being sick on Monday so that we join some of our local homeschool group on our much-anticipated field trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
While I do love visiting cemeteries, Mount Auburn is much, much more than just a cemetery. It was established in 1851 by the Horticultural Society as a “rural cemetery” and experimental garden. It’s worth visiting for the history, for the art, for the botanical garden, and for the wildlife.
Our purpose was a lecture on botany and a guided tour– of course our guide was only to appraise us of a few highlights of the diverse species in the habitat and to give us just a smattering about the vast scope of the place. We learned about conifers– how to tell the difference between spruce, fir, and hemlock. And about flowers and various seed pods. Our guide had a bunch of examples the kids were able to hold and examine– even take apart. Also about salamanders and vernal pools and great horned owls– we even found and examined an owl pellet.
We also climbed a tower and saw a great view of Boston. I think the boys liked the tower the best.
And afterward we hooked up with friends who live nearby in Cambridge for a play date.
I love how field trips help us to dive deeper into a subject. Among other things, our guide had us looking at seed cones from a giant sequoia and talking about the widest and tallest trees. But we still had questions, so Dom found us this article:
The Oldest, Tallest, Widest and Biggest Trees in the World. I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll find many other topics to follow up on.
I feel an intensive season of Nature Study creeping up on us. We’ve got out the Comstock Handbook and so far have read up about crocuses, robins, sparrows, wasps (Bella asks: what do they do all day when they aren’t stinging people?), bumblebees. We’ve also looked up greenbottles online. And I have a mission to find out more about grey squirrels.
I definitely want to go back to Mt Auburn, maybe even make it a regular stop for family outings. Such a beautiful, fascinating place to visit.