Let's Go Outdoors
The Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia
John E King, President
Prepared and Issued by
The Department of Biology, with the cooperation of the Divisions of Education and Social Science
Editor: John Breukelman, Head, Department of Biology
Editorial Committee: Ina M. Borman, Helen M. Douglass, Dixon Smith
Online edition by: Terri Weast
The Kansas School Naturalist is sent upon request, free of charge to any citizen of Kansas.
The Kansas School Naturalist is published in October, December, February and April of each year by The Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas. Second-class mail privileges authorized at Emporia, Kansas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MOST OF THIS ISSUE was compiled and prepared by Dixon Smith who teaches geography in the Division of geography in the Division of Social Science at Emporia State. Mr. Smith and Robert F. Clarke, senior biology student, prepared the map on pages 8 and 9. The negraving on page 5 was borrowed from The American Biology Teacher and the one on page 13 was borrowed from Nature Magazine.
Let's Go Outdoors
LET'S SEE WHAT THERE IS OUTDOORS
As any skillful teacher knows, a wealth of material for the study of nature or science is to be found near at hand. Surrounding almost any school in Kansas, at almost any time of year, are things to see and study - trees, grasses, weeds, rock ledges, fences, wind-blown sand, hedgerows, lawns, birds, insects, spiders, examples of soil erosion and soil building, roads, roofs. The list may be extended and subdivided as far as you like.
Is there a lawn around your school? Does it look the same along the north side of the building as along the south? Are there spots where grass does not grow? Are weeds growing in these spots? Are the dandelions evenly distributed? Are different kinds of clover present? After a rain, do angleworms come to the surface? Can you find any spider webs?
If your school is rural, perhaps there is a hedgerow near. What kind of trees or bushes are there? Rabbits, cardinals, turtles, bobwhite, insects, and many other kinds of animals live in and near hedgerows. The soil in a hedgerow is probably richer than in an adjacent field. Having been protected against erosion, it may be several inches or a foot above the level of the soil in the field. Not only do hedgerows protect the soil against erosion, but because leaves, dust, and other soil building materials accumulate there, soil is actually being built up in the hedgerow while in the adjacent field it is wearing away.
After a rain, there may be puddles of water with muddy flats; if so you may try being a detective. TurtIes, birds, squirrels, mice, cats, and many other visitors will leave their tracks in the mud. Compare these with the snow tracks pictured in The Kansas School Naturalist for December, 1954, page 9. For a short time immediately after a rain there will be little rivers, complete with tributaries, waterfalls, flood plains, dams, and deltas. The water will be muddy at first and gradually clear up. Here are many lessons in soil erosion.
Your school may be in the midst of a good place to hunt arrowheads, Indian beads, agates, fossil leaves, gypsum crystals, shark teeth, and the like. It may be near a heron colony, fish hatchery, prairie dog town, wildlife refuge, county, city, state or federal lake, sinkhole, gravel pit, salt marsh, game farm, irrigation canal, beaver dam, glacial moraine, chalk bluff, arboretum, tulip farm, buffalo ranch, spring, or artesian well - all these and many other areas of outdoor interest exist in Kansas.
Most of us who live in Kansas do not have to go far afield to find native plants that can be used for food. Some of these, like the wild strawberry of eastern Kansas, have been known as delicacies ever since people have lived here. Others, like the milkweed and cattail, have been overlooked either because they are only weeds, or because we just never thought of them as anything to eat.
We sometimes forget that our crop and garden plants, such as corn, potatoes, or cabbage, were developed from wild ancestral plants, and that some plants which grow wild in one place (such as the dandelion) may be raised in gardens or fields in some other localitv.
"Wild foods," as they were called by Eva L. Gordon*, can give those of us who love the outdoors an opportunity for new flavors and a sense of getting something useful from a trip outdoors.
Perhaps some future issue of The Kansas School Naturalist can be devoted to a detailed treatment of wild foods, but in this one, space will permit only a few precautions, a list of sample edible plants, a few sample recipes, and a description of a tin-can cooker.
1. Be a courteous collector; take only plants that are abundant; do not collect on others' property without permission; obey "No Trespassing" signs and other signs goveming the use of grounds.
2. Some wild plants are poisonous; do not use plants that you know nothing about.
3. Do not eat wild plants raw unless they grow where there is no chance for contamination.
SOME EDIBLE WILD PLANTS:
Dandelion - leaves, young roots
Water cress - leaves, young stems
Sheep sorrel - leaves, stems
Curly dock - young leaves
Burdock - young stems, leaves, roots
Shepherd's purse - young leaves
Chickweed - leaves and stems
Lamb's quarter - young leaves and seeds
Milkweed - young stems (like asparagus), young leaves, young pods
Cattail - young stems, pollen, roots
Arrowhead - tubers
Wild rice - seeds
Elderberry - fruits
Wild grape - fruits
Persimmon - fruits
Pawpaw - fruits
1. Green salad - equal quantities of young dandelions, dock, and sorrel, tossed with French dressing, with a little chopped mint.
2. Burdock stems - peel leaf stalks of young burdock like rhubarb, drop into boiling water, cook until tender, drain, stir into pancake batter, fry in fat until brown.
3. Cattail-pollen pancakes - (late May and June) when upper parts of cattail "heads" are ready to shed their pollen, shake pollen into a bowl and substitute for about half the flour required for your favorite pancake recipe.
4. Young milkweed stalks on toast - cook like asparagus and serve on toast with your favorite white or vegetable sauce.
The outdoor cooker in the accompanying figure was described by E. L. Palmer, in the January 1943 issue of The American Biology Teacher, as follows:
" . .. and I have prepared soup, biscuits, bacon and French toast in less than twenty-three minutes from the time I lit the first match ... This combination cooker uses four tin cans. Two of these are one-pound coffee cans. One of these is prepared with a simple wire handle. In it, I place water and enough dried soup material to make a good soup. Above this can I place the second coffee can, which serves as my oven or for the making of cocoa or native 'tea.' The boiler beneath serves as an insulating area and prevents my biscuits from buming. In the baker, I place biscuit dough made after a variety of recipes. Prepared biscuit flour may prove to be the simplest material to use though native flour may be had from such plants as cattails . . . The two coffee cans are placed on top of my 'stove,' which consists of a gallon oil can I salvaged from the dump. I have cut out a door about four inches long and the same height, into which I can thrust my fuel of pencil-size dry sticks. The top of this stove has been cut crudely to let the heat and flames arise but has a skeleton of tin to support my coffee-can boiler and baker. I now place my stove in position; on it, the two coffee cans. Now I make my fryer. This consists of another can about the size of the stove but deep enough to cover my coffee can, and wide enough to allow free circulation of air between. The bottom of this can is open and the opposite end entire. Near this top I cut two flues on opposite sides about an inch deep and four inches wide. This fryer sets on the stove over the boiler and baker. On its top I fry bacon and French toast at the same time. I build a fire in the stove and fry the bacon. In the grease I lay a piece of bread with a hole in it the size of the yolk of an egg. In this hole I drop the egg, and when the egg is fried firm to one side of the bread, I turn bread and egg together ... there should have been enough heat in the coffee cans to boil the soup and bake the biscuits. You then thrust a stick through the flues in the fryer, lift it off and there the biscuits and soup are ready to be eaten."
Vistiors to our state are usually surprised to find that it is fairly dotted with lakes. True, they may not have the majestic setting of a mountain tarn (or appear as a glacial memento in the northern forest) yet for an outdoors-loving family nothing is more pleasant than an evening at the lake. Picnicking, fishing, boating, swimming or even camping out all night are possibilities that await you. You might find new plants, birds, or other animals that you won't see elsewhere.
Geologists tell us that lakes are characteristic of young landscapes. In older landscapes erosion either wears down the outlets of lakes and drains them, or fills them with sediment and vegetation. Kansas has a relatively old landscape, so we have found it necessary to counteract Mother Nature and make our own lakes.
Kansas has more than 120 public artificial lakes and an equal number of private lakes (over 10 acres in size) giving a total water area of over 60 square miles at normal levels. There were no state or county lakes and few city lakes before 1930. Over half the public lakes in the state were constructed from 1935 through 1940. Most of the city lakes were constructed for water supply, and all of the state and county lakes for fishing and recreation. The federal reservoirs are multipurpose.
|County||State or County||Location||Highway Access||Lake Area (Acres)||Fishing||Boating||Boats for Rent||Swimming||Picnicking||Overnight Camping||Map Key|
|Barber||S||N edge Medicine Lodge||281||64||1|
|Brown||S||7 1/2 E: 1 S Hiawatha||36||60||1|
|Butler||S||3W: 1N Augusta||54||232||x||x||x||x||x||x||1|
|Chase||S||3 W Cottonwood Falls||50S||100||1|
|Clark||S||10 W: 1S Kingsdown||54||337||x||x||x||x|
|Cowley||S||13 NE Arkansas City||166||80||1|
|Crawford No. 1||S||4 N Pittsburg||K7||150||x||x||x||x||1|
|Crawford No. 2||S||1N:1E Farlington||K7||169||x||x||x||x||2|
|Decatur No. 1||S||1N Oberlin||83||47||x||x||1|
|Decatur No. 2||S||1N:1E Oberlin||36||161||x||x||x||x||2|
|Douglas||C||11W:3N Baldwin City||50N-59||195||x||x||x||x||x||4|
|Ford||C||N Dodge City||50S-283||65||4&5|
|Grant||S||1 1/2 E Ulysses||160||325||x||x||1|
|Harvey||C||3 NW Halstead||50S-K89||x||x||x||2|
|Logan||S||4NW Russell Springs||40-K25||60|
|McPherson||S||7N:2 1/2 W Canton||50N||43||1|
|Miami||S||12 SE Paola||69||90||x||x||x||x||1|
|Montgomery||S||4 1/2 SE Independence||169||105||1|
|Nemaha||S||1 E: 4 S Seneca||K63||359||x||x||x||x||x||x||1|
|Pratt||C||SE of Pratt||54-K64||96||x||x||x||1|
|Scott||S||12N Scott City||83||115||x||x||x||x||x||x||1|
|Sedgwick||C||3E:3S Garden Plain||54||238||3|
|Shawnee||C||SE of Topeka||40-75||393||x||x||x||x||2|
|Wyandotte||C||NW of Kansas City||K5||332||x||3|
KEY TO MAP
L - Lake
|M - Historical Marker||P - State Park||- Other Point of Interest|
CHEROKEE COUNTY M1, Baxter Springs
COMANCHE COUNTY 1, Hell's Half Acre
DICKINSON COUNTY M1, End of Chisholm
OSBORNE COUNTY M1, Geodetic Center of
In the following list the roadside parks are arranged by highways, all except those preceded by "K" being federal highways. All of the parks listed have tables and fireplaces; some have water and toilets, these being deSignated by the letters "w" and "T" following the name of the town. The usual letters (N-north, S-south, E-east, and W-west) are used to show directions, and when a number is given also, this indicates the distance in miles. Thus, the first listing means that the park is west of Belvue and has water and toilets.
24-W Belvue, W, T
You don't have to take a long trip to go on a picnic, and you don't need fancy equipment. You may have a perfectly good picnic right in your own back yard, in the school yard, or in a nearby vacant lot or clump of trees in a pasture corner. An old apple box or log may be used to sit on, and a flat rock or board may serve as a table. As shown in the accompanying pictures a fireplace may be built out of rocks, bricks, sticks, an old wheel or other metal piece from the trash pile or city dump. In fact, it may be more fun to see what you can build yourself than to start out with a lot of equipment already there.
If you decide to have a fire, select a safe place for it, at least 10 or 12 feet from any tree or building. Do not make a large fire; pencil-sized sticks are big enough for cooking an entire meal, either in a cooker such as the one shown on page 5 or the brick fireplace such as the one on this page. Do not build a fire
Leave the site of your picnic clean. If there is no trash container, burn the trash before putting out the fire, or bury it, or wrap it up and take it home to your own trash can.
While you are looking around for suitable sticks, rocks, bricks or other materials, keep your eyes open for the things of nature about you.
BE SURE to return the center insert, as soon as you know your 1955-56 address.
"The character at the right is no gentleman. In fact, he is a noxious, two-legged insect in human form. He strews refuse in city parks, at the beach, and on the countryside. He leaves his debris at picnic spot, along stream bank, in national park and forest. He is a thoroughly undesirable individual with the
most atrocious outdoor manners. He is fittingly represented as a harmful insect, and what is hoped to be a lethal insecticide for him has been devised in the organization of Keep America Beautiful."
The above quotation and cut appeared in the January, 1955, issue of Nature Magazine, in an article entitled "Insecticide for the Litterbug." The article deals with Keep America Beautiful, Inc., also known as KAB, a voluntary organization whose purpose is implied in its name.
The formation of KAB was prompted by the increasing amount of litter accumulating along the roads, in parks and other scenic areas.
The KAB movement is supported by nature organizations, women's clubs, business firms, farm organizations, youth groups, service clubs, conservation agencies, as well as various government agencies and schools. It is hoped that more and more local and state organizations will become allied with KAB, so that every area in the country will be covered.
The national office of KAB has prepared some teaching materials with suggestions for their use; further information may be obtained from Keep America Beautiful, Inc., 100 Park Avenue, New York 17, N.Y.
In the meantime all Kansas teachers and pupils can do many things to keep Kansas beautiful. Some things everyone can do are: (1) put paper plates and cups, bottles and bottle tops, tin cans, candy and gum wrappers, and other litter in trash containres (sic) where they belong instead of leaving them scattered about, (2) organize "clean-up" days, (3) carry a "litter-bag" in the car instead of tossing litter out the car window onto the road, and (4) encourage others to help. No doubt you can think of many other things to do to help Keep America Beautiful.
Are you getting anxious for vacation time to arrive? To many Americans, vacation means travel. If that's what you have in mind, here are a few hints that might help.
Make plans well ahead. Making plans is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Get some maps; your gasoline dealer will help you, maybe even supply you with a booklet of maps with your route laid out and a description of interesting places along the way. The state highway departments of the states you will visit will also supply you with maps and other information. Inquire about good places to stay and eat on your route. Make all necessary reservations well ahead of time. Read about the places you expect to visit; they'll be more interesting as a result.
Even though it's a "travel" vacation, don't try to go too far, possibly not over 1000 miles a week. Try concentrating on one rather limited area, staying a few days at one place. You can take short daily excursions and still have a more restful time. You'll probably appreciate and remember the days spent in one place more than all the rest of the trip.
Take advantage of the wayside and historic sites. Buy a small ice chest and keep it stocked with food so that you can stop wherever you find a good place. It will be fun, you'll learn about the country, and besides, you'll save enough money to pay for the ice chest.
Why spend any of your time doing things you can do at home, such as sleeping half the morning, attending movies, watching TV, or playing canasta?
Try to get the feel of the country you're in; be friendly and talk with local people; ask questions; inquire at local Chambers of Commerce or information centers for good eating places and points of interest in their localities.
How about camping out? You'll get more vacation for your money this way than any other. Near essentials are: camp stove, tent, sleeping gear, cooking and eating equipment, ice chest, lantern or flashlight, water pail.
Camp only in authorized areas, but try to find the lesser known places - the better known spots are crowded. In any case, plan to arrive at the camp site well before supper time so you can make camp and eat before dark.
Here are a few suggestions for places to visit:
1. Black Hills and Bad Lands of South Dakota
2. Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas
3. Colorado, east of the Continental Divide
4. St. Louis area; Mississippi River and Lincoln country
1. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota-Western Great Lakes
2. Kentucky and Tennessee
3. Gulf Coast
4. Arizona and New Mexico
Just about any place in the United States and adjacent parts of Mexico and Canada, if you don't try to see everything on the way going and returning
By the way, have you seen all the interesting places in Kansas shown on the map on pages 8 and 9?
TO HELP YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT KANSAS
- A Kansas Atlas, Kansas Industrial Development Commission, Topeka, 1952, (Your County Superintendent).
- Fifteenth Biennial Report, June 30, 1954, Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission, Pratt, Kansas.
- Kansas, Our State, Goebel, Heffellinger, and Gammon, Topeka, 1952.
- Kansas-Points of Interest, Historic, Scenic, Recreational, January, 1942, State Highway Commission, Topeka, Kansas.
- Official 1955 Highway Map of Kansas, State Highway Commission, Topeka, Kansas.
- State Parks of Kansas, Kansas Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission, Pratt, Kansas.
- The Kansas Scene, Grace Muilenburg, State Geological Survey of Kansas, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
- To the Stars, "Kansas Tourist Guide," Vol. IX, No.1, JanuaryFebruary, 1954, Kansas Industrial Development Commission, Topeka, Kansas.
- Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, "The Geography of Kansas," Part I; Political Geography by Walter H. Schoewe, September, 1949.
- Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, "The Geography of Kansas," Part II; Physical Geography by Walter H. Schoewe, September, 1949.
- Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, "The Geography of Kansas," Part III; Hydrogeography, by Walter H. Schoevve, September, 1951.
- Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, "The Geography of Kansas," Part III concluded; Hydogeography by Walter H. Schoewc, June, 1953.
- Water Resources Development by The Corps of Engineers in Kansas, January, 1953, Southwestern Division, Dallas, Texas.
- Inscriptions on Kansas Historical Markers 1940-41, Reprint from The Kansas Historical Quarterly, Nov. 1941, Distributed by The Kansas Highway Commission; Topeka.
- Kansas State Highway System Weekly Service Map, The Kansas Highway Commission, Topeka.
- Directory of Public Officials in Kansas 1953 "Public Improvements in Cities and Counties," Bull. No. 110.53, July 25, 1953, The League of Kansas Municipalities, Topeka, Kansas.
|The Kansas School Naturalist||Department of Biology|
|College of Liberal Arts & Sciences|
|Send questions / comments to
Kansas School Naturalist.
|Emporia State University|