July/August 2015

In the past, getting city school kids outdoors meant playing handball in a brick courtyard. These days, more and more educators are finding creative ways to integrate outdoor learning into their curricula, with efforts ranging from planting rooftop gardens to transforming parking lots into outdoor labs. One such initiative is New York City’s The Natural…

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In my mind, it’s pretty much settled: Picaridin is superior to DEET. Consumer Reports essentially just confirmed it. But will an entirely new model of mosquito repellent change the picture? I’ve written a fair bit about the picaridin vs. DEET debate. Now the latest entry is from Consumer Reports, which reviewed 15 common repellents earlier…

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Designer Steve Bailey packs extensive information into each square. They are elements of adventure, the 48 White Mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 feet in elevation. And now key information about each of them is displayed in an entirely new way: a periodic table of White Mountain 4,000-footers. Created by Steve Bailey, a designer and web…

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You don’t have to live near a teeming ocean, a sprawling lake, or even a rushing river to help kids get their feet wet when it comes to aquatic science. From measuring water velocity to perusing paramecia, there’s plenty to investigate in ponds and streams near you. For its hands-on-learning series A Mountain Classroom, which…

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AMC recently teamed up with The Boston Globe on a Hike the Whites online bracket, featuring 64 of the top hikes in the White Mountains, including many family hikes. Voters chose their favorites throughout the competition, and we thought you’d be interested in learning a little bit about the top three hikes from the family…

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For budding young marine biologists, or even just animal or ocean lovers, tidal pools offer oodles of opportunity for exploration. Found along the shore, these pools form in depressions in the sand or in pockets between rocks when the tide recedes, leaving small temporary habitats for all sorts of marine life. As with Leave No…

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Above Carter Notch. The Ramparts–one of my Elite Eight hikes—is the large boulder field in the lower right. Photo: Wesley Carr/Flickr I recently had the unique task of writing all 64 hike descriptions for the Boston Globe’s Hike the Whites feature. The winner for best hike in this bracket-style, reader-voted competition? The ascent of Mount…

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No morbid rumination here! Photo: AESanfacon/Flickr A new study confirms what has long been apparent to all us lovers of the great outdoors: Spending time in natural environments reduces stress. To gauge this effect, including specific measurements of how time in nature affects brain activity, researchers at Stanford University recruited 38 participants. Half of them…

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Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Perfect for young and old alike, this activity—also known as a treasure hunt in some family circles—lends itself to camping trips, birthday parties, even your own backyard. From close-to-home forays to summer-long hunts all over New England, an outdoor scavenger hunt introduces a healthy dose of competition and discovery…

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It’s easy to skip the local playground during the summer, when so many beaches beckon—especially on Cape Cod, which can seem like one giant sandbox. Certainly there’s no lack of choices, but for those who might like to avoid major crowds of vacationers, Sandy Neck Beach Park, a 6-mile-long barrier beach in Barnstable County, is…

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