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TAKE A GREEN LEAP!

2024 is a Leap Year! February has an additional day added to the calendar—29 February, known as Leap Day. This helps to adjust our annual calendars to the time the Earth takes to complete one revolution around the Sun. So, what will you do with this ‘extra day’? Read on for some fun ideas.

From a comical newspaper published in France, Luxembourg, and Belgium only every Leap Day to feasts held in England in honour of a saint who died on 29 February 922, there are many Leap Day traditions around the world. ‘Leaplings’—people who were born on a Leap Day—get to celebrate their birthdays on 29 February too! But for most of us, the day comes and goes almost unnoticed. Skip into this special edition of Nature Nuggets to discover fun activities you can do to connect with and celebrate our planet this Leap Day.

Nature’s legendary leapers: Frogs are the most well-known leapers of the animal world, but how well do you know them? Did you know that some frogs can jump over 20 times their body length? That’s like a human jumping 30 metres, which would be a massive feat, considering Olympian Mike Powell holds the long jump record of 8.95 metres!

  • Spend Leap Day designing a Froggy Fact File featuring different frog species from your state or country.
  • You can also take the froggy fun outdoors and play a sporty game of Leap Frog Relay with your friends!
  • Research the amazing adaptations of animals that can leap and hop. Try your hand at building a model animal and launcher with this fun Animal Launcher Challenge!

Leap Day excursions: Spend Leap Day exploring nearby parks, gardens, or green spaces with your family, and connect with nature together.

  • Go on a Micro-world Safari, using a magnifying glass to examine leaf patterns and tree bark, compare the shapes of grains of sand, spot tiny creatures, and more. Photograph or sketch what you spot and put your findings down in a nature journal.
  • Practice identifying common birds, maybe with a pair of binoculars. You can do a Bird Roll Call, making a list of all the different birds you see.
  • With springtime flowers in bloom, you might find butterflies about. Sign up for this fun course and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a butterfly buff!

Tiny hops, big impact: Give our planet a helping hand this 29 February. Even small and achievable actions can make a huge difference, while also being fun to do!

  • Do a Leap Day audit of your possessions, such as games, toys, books, and clothes. Give away useful things that you no longer use, mend and reuse or repurpose things that are damaged, and send things that are too damaged to mend to a recycler, or put them in the trash. This is how you can help reduce the waste you generate and cut down on resources needed to make new things.
  • Bring your family, friends, and neighbours or schoolmates on board and organise a clean-up campaign in your neighbourhood or school.
  • Be a Green Influencer and speak up for the planet. Record a video or podcast, write an article, story, or poem, or create a work of art to communicate a message for the planet.

Share snapshots from your Leap Day adventures on social media with the hashtag #MyGreenLeap.

Common Name: Copepods

Class: Copepoda

Copepods, sometimes called the ‘insects of the sea’, are tiny crustaceans, about 0.2 mm to 10 mm in length, and can be found in oceans and freshwater habitats. They are a very important part of the food webs in these habitats as many animals feed on them. Some species of copepods are sensitive to water quality, making them important ecological indicators.

Despite their size, copepods are the world’s best jumpers, leaping to achieve a speed of up to a thousand times their body length per second—around 3-6 kilometres per hour. This would be comparable to a human jumping at over 6,000 kilometres per hour! Now, that deserves a gold medal, doesn’t it?

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

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