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Shell Study

Activity

Form and Function

Learn about the function of turtle/ tortoise shells and how they are different from other animal shells, like hermit crabs. See if you can identify which type of turtle you find based on its shell pattern. Some frequently found residents in Waller Creek are the common slider, Texas cooter and Mississippi map turtle. Take a picture of your collage among the foliage and test friends and family to see if they can accurately point it out.
Close up of tortoise shell
Two hand holding small softshell turtle
Child holding a large turtle

Science Seed

A turtle/ tortoise’s shell, or carapace, serves many purposes. It functions as a shield attached to the animal’s body, protecting them from predators and weather. The shell’s color and patterns provide camouflage, allowing them to hide in their habitat. To help them swim better, turtle shells are usually flatter than the high, domed shells of tortoises. Their shells contain over 50 bones on their inner surface, including the ribs and spinal column, that grow with them as they age!
botany jar illustration

earn Badges

Badges can be earned through hands-on experiences within each of the 16 branches of science, or “Science Slices.” You can earn a badge in each branch of science by doing four activities in these categories. We also encourage participants to keep a Nature Journal to record their memories, and to express themselves creatively through writing or drawing after each activity. We recommend that each child (and parent if they’d like) write or draw in a journal after each activity, with expectations of your children that match their age (the goal is self-expression, not perfection).

Explore the Pease Park Conservancy

Use this map to help you guide your way through the Pease Park Conservancy as you complete activities.

The Ecologist School Pocket Guide: Pease Park Edition is a collaboration between Families in Nature and Pease Park Conservancy as an effort to help our community learn more about the ecosystem and history of Pease Park, while getting outside into nature together! This booklet has 64 lessons across 16 different branches of science to help you play, learn and volunteer in the park as a family!

Each branch of science corresponds with a matching badge featured in the top right corner of every activity. Complete all 4 activities in a science slice and you are eligible to earn that badge.

Circle of Sciences

Our hands-on activities span across 16 different branches of science! Each Science Slice is broken into 8 learning categories: S.T.E.A.M., Volunteerism, Outdoor Skills and Leadership Development. Our activities are designed to be enjoyed by all ages.

join Families in Nature

It is our vision to inspire all families to fall in love with nature and foster the next generation of conservationists. Becoming a member of Families in Nature will give your family the opportunity to have adventures in nature, experience field science, develop as youth conservation leaders, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Memberships are free for everyone.

Who are we?

Families in Nature works to create opportunities for nature connection with the purpose of sparking a deep love and desire to protect, conserve and restore the environment. Our mission is to connect children and their families to nature and to each other through time spent learning, playing, and volunteering outdoors. It is our vision to inspire ALL families to fall in love with nature and foster the next generation of conservationists.

Pease Park Conservancy works in partnership with the City of Austin to set the standard for the principles of world-class park management – emphasizing environmental excellence – to improve the quality of this treasured green space for the enjoyment of all.

Our mission celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. The Conservancy works to restore, enhance and maintain this 84-acre public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all.

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