RESTON, Va. (May 30, 2014)— Go wild this summer and explore the jungles of your own backyard with National Wildlife Federation’s widely popular national family event, Great American Backyard Campout. In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, the annual event encourages people of all ages to camp in their backyards, neighborhoods, parks and campgrounds, as a simple way to reconnect with nature!
“From wildlife watching tips and games to campfire songs and recipes, NWF gives people everywhere the resources they need to experience the wonders of wildlife right in their own backyards or neighborhoods with a simple yet memorable summer Campout,” said Maureen Smith, chief marketing officer for National Wildlife Federation. “And, by participating in NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout they can also experience a sense of community knowing that the experience is being shared by thousands of others all across the country.”
Nocturnal wildlife-watching is an activity that will keep the family immensely entertained without the use of phones or other electronics. Once the sun sets, a new array of wildlife emerges to explore America’s backyards. To help with your campout, here are some fun wildlife watching tips for observing amazing nocturnal wildlife like owls, foxes, and moths.
- Pick areas where night-flying insects are abundant, such as over water, or near flood lights and street lights. Light and water attract the insects that certain animals feed on at night. Here are five common nocturnal wildlife species to watch for.
- Get your binoculars, bird book, and some flashlights and go out in the woods at night to search for owls. Owls are nocturnal, so the best time to look for them is at night.
- Watch for bats at sunset. At sunset, bats come out to look for mosquitoes and other bugs to eat. They like to fly over open areas, often over water. To help increase your chances of seeing bats, build or buy a bat house.
- Go mothing. Put out fruit at a simple tray feeder or smear it on a tree in the late afternoon or early in the night. At nighttime, check the feeders for moth activity.
- Observe bugs at night by hanging a bed sheet in the backyard and shine a white light directly on it. Insects are a big part of the nighttime backyard show. Depending on the season, the sounds of crickets, cicadas and katydids may be so loud that they drown out other woodland sounds. Fireflies can also be spotted flashing their mating lights, and moths of all sizes are attracted to patio or spotlights in the warm weather.
- Use your ears; if you hear birds, frogs, or mammals calling, slowly walk towards those sounds for a better chance of seeing them. Always remember to keep a respectable distance from the birds and mammals you are viewing.
Take the pledge to camp today
Whether it is in the backyard, together with neighbors, with friends at a local park, or at a large community event, NWF encourages parents and kids alike to trade screen time for green time by spending a night under the stars. Take the pledge to camp on June 28th or anytime of the year.
National Wildlife Federation provides everything you need to head out into the great outdoors. The Campout website has packing lists, recipes, nocturnal wildlife guides, exploration activities, nature games, and more. For more information, please go to: www.backyardcampout.org.
Now in its 10th year, Great American Backyard Campout is a part of National Wildlife Federation’s 10 Million Kids Outdoors Campaign. This three-year initiative seeks a future where all children spend time outside each day, creating a generation of happier and healthier children with more awareness and connection to the natural world. National Wildlife Federation has worked to connect children and youth with nature for decades, inspiring children through Ranger Rick magazine, working with educators to get kids learning outdoors, and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside.