We also checked out some ant activity on the roots and trunk of another nearby tree. This was the first spot where the big explorer actually took several minutes to examine the ants up close with his magnifying glass. Then he explained to me that ants follow a scent (he called it a bad smell). You could break up their game of follow the leader (the only game ants know how to play, he added) by creating a new scent with your finger. He showed me how with such glowing pride that I was speechless.

That is from the blog of Debi Huang, a Los Angeles-based wife, mom and adventure guide for two young boys. Her blog is the story of her nature-inspired adventures. The “big explorer” is her son.

Their ant adventure reminds me of a book I saw on Amazon and have been meaning to get. It’s called “Talking to Fireflies, Shrinking the Moon: Nature Activities for All Ages” by Edward Duensing.

Here’s an excerpt.

To demonstrate that the ants are following a scent, and not just marching behind one another, run your finger across their path, roughing up the soil. The next ant to arrive at the rub mark you made will act quite confused. It will move from side to side and even backward trying to pick up the trail you erased by removing the pheromone with your finger. After much scouting around, the lost ant will eventually recommend the trail you have disturbed and go back to the business of gathering food for the colony.

I can’t honestly recommend the book because I haven’t read it yet but it does look like it’s packed with a lot of ideas.

This summer Debi picked up a copy of my “Take A City Nature Walk.” and she discovered some incredible and surprising urban nature. Debi also reviewed City Nature Walk on her blog.. Check out what she thinks of the book, what she discovered on her urban walks, and what her readers have to offer about nature in the city:

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