Backyard Explorer

A close up photo of green grass an brown mushrooms.
When taking the time to slow down, you can find that life abounds even in your own backyard.

NPS Photo/ Thomas DiGiovannangelo

Discover nature in your own backyard!

While exploring your backyard or other natural area near your home, follow the activities below to become a Mammoth Cave Backyard Explorer! You will need a piece of paper and something to write with.

1) Watch the Sloans Crossing Pond Study Video

Watch as Ranger Chris and Ranger Jonathan explore the life living in Sloans Pond here in the park and get inspired to explore the nature in your own backyard.
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5 minutes, 18 seconds

Join Ranger Chris and Ranger Jonathan as they discover what is living in Sloans Pond. Discover the life living in a natural spot near your home or in your own backyard by completing the Mammoth Cave Backyard Explorer activity.

A drawing of a white and pink flower with a brown stem and green leaves.
Record your backyard observations by sketching what you find.

NPS Photo/ Rachel Kem

2) Observe and sketch

Find a spot in your backyard and sit for five minutes and observe your surroundings. Write down your observations and draw a sketch of your spot.

What do you hear?

Do you hear wind or any animals?

What do you smell?

Are there any flowers nearby or does the dirt beneath your feet has an earthy smell?

What do you feel?

Touch a plants leaves; are they smooth or rough?

Draw what you see

Pretend you are a scientist that is documenting what you find. Draw a sketch of your spot in your backyard or draw a detailed picture of a flower, leaf, or pine cone that you find.
A tree trunk with its back covered in bright green lichen.
Several species of lichen cling to the rough bark of a tree.

NPS Photo/ Thomas DiGiovannangelo

3) Go on a nature scavenger hunt

Explore more areas in your backyard away from your spot and go on a nature scavenger hunt. Can you find any of the things listed below? Write down what you find on your paper.

Find something that:

  • Is your favorite color.

  • Is dry and something that is wet.

  • Crawls and something that flies.

  • Has no legs, something that has four legs, something that has six legs.

  • A leaf that makes a crunching noise when you squeeze it.

  • A tree that has smooth bark and a tree that has rough bark.
  • A rock that is dark and a rock that is shiny.

Can you find anything else that is unique?


Good job, you are now a Mammoth Cave Backyard Explorer!

Give yourself a pat of the back. You can continue to explore your backyard or other natural areas near your home. Try to keep a note book of all the interesting things you find.

Last updated: April 23, 2021

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P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


270 758-2180

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