Cardinal’s Nature and Culture Club

Cardinals Nature and Culture Club

Liberorum Natura et Cultura Clava

The Children’s Nature and Culture Club

Organized by Pauline Abello, Director of

Mission and Purpose


To glorify God through exploring His creation and God honoring cultural experiences.


In nature outings we will explore numerous locations throughout the state to see and study firsthand what we are studying in classes at HLSPV.  We will visit sites that will help us further our studies of mammals, astronomy, insects, birds, and trees.  

This has a two-fold intent 1) to explore the earth that God has given us and delight in His magnificence through enjoying his creation and 2) to learn more about the earth so we can fulfill our God-given command to “subdue the earth” (Gen 1:28).  

Our founding fathers thought the knowledge of agriculture was so important classes for farming were taught right along side latin classes.  So many children today have never even seen a vegetable garden and have little or no firsthand knowledge of how to grow plants. Our children will. 

In cultural outings our goal is to teach our children the Godly values and traditions of Western society (leaving the ungodly ones behind) so that these values may be preserved for future generations.  In doing this we hope to expose them to a feast of the arts for broadening their minds, enjoyment, and worshiping our Creator. 

The Mascot and Meaning

The Cardinals 

(“Cardinales” in Latin)

Our mascot is the Northern Cardinal, a beautiful red bird that graces our state with their rare sightings.  But more than their beauty, the word itself, “cardinal,” has a great history and depth of meaning that really spoke to me.

The word cardinal can be traced back to the Latin adjective cardinalis, which at first meant “serving as a hinge.” The root of this word is the latin noun cardo, meaning “hinge.” Since a hinge is the device on which a door turns, the noun cardo also came to be used for “something on which a development turns or depends,” or in other words, “something very important.”  

How fitting a meaning this is.  This is exactly what homeschooling: it is “something on which a development turns or depends.”  Or in other words “something very important.”  We are training up our children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6).  Our nature and culture club will be the practical, real life “exclamation mark” to all the book learning we have been doing at home.  And what a joy to do it amongst the fellowship of our brothers and sisters and Christ!  We are blessed to have you join us in our adventures!

Continuing in the word study (if you are like me you might be still wondering how cardinalis went from a meaning a hinge to meaning a specific bird- so let me not keep you sitting on the edge of your seat!), the use of cardinalis meaning “something very important” eventually took on the meaning “very important, chief, principal.” 

This is where we get our use of the word cardinal meaning chief, central, or essential.  Such as a “cardinal rule” is one that is essential or key; “cardinal numbers” (like 1, 2, 3) are essential and the ones you learn first.  

Later the Roman Catholic Church made use of this adjective in referring to principal churches and priests. By the late Middle Ages the word cardinalis had come to be used for “a clergyman of the highest rank, next to the pope.” When borrowed into English, cardinalis became cardinal. Then other senses of the word developed. A cardinal’s robes are a deep red color, and this color influenced the naming of a type of bird whose color was like that of a cardinal’s robes (scientific name Cardinalis cardinalis).

Cardinals are special in AZ because they usher in the winter season, one of our favorite seasons here.  At our ranch in Wittmann, every winter, a red cardinal would come and hang out and eat the cat food we left in the cat’s tree perch.  It was always magical and exciting to see this rare sighting.  And it only happened during winter.  

In later years I grew sunflowers, which my cardinal liked very much.  I don’t know if it was always the same cardinal, I just guessed that it was.  And I do think he was the only one because we never saw more than one at the same time.  One year he didn’t coe alone, he had found himself a mate.  The females are light brown and red colored so it was easy to tell the difference.  I would always see them together.  With the constant supply of their favorite food (sunflowers) they would stay for longer periods of time.  To this day they are still my favorite bird.

Parent Responsibilities

Parent Contract

I acknowledge that I AND I ALONE AM RESPONSIBLE for my children’s SAFETY on Cardinals outings 

I acknowledge that I am responsible for my children’s BEHAVIOR on Cardinals outings and will respond appropriately when they do not follow the Cardinals Safety Pledge 

I will READ the Cardinals description and location listed in this document and any emails for correct and up to date directions, precautions, and to be sure it is an appropriate outing for my family, doing my own research as needed or calling the site location with any questions.

I will know the safety precautions specific to the destination. 

I will contact Pauline with any questions I have about the outing 

I will provide myself and my children with proper clothing and equipment, including but not limited to – closed toed shoes, cold weather gear, hats, and sunscreen for nature events and appropriate dress attire for cultural events. 

I will PREPARE MY CHILDREN for the outing by reviewing the Cardinals Safety Pledge with them and making sure they understand their role in keeping themselves and others safe. I will review the pledge with them frequently and correct them when their behavior is in violation of the pledge 

I will bring the appropriate amount of food and water for myself and all of my children 

I will never be alone at any of the events

I will learn basic first aid and carry a first aid kit at all times

I homeschool my children.

I am a Christian and I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.


Parent Signature                                  Date

Credit: Thanks to Charlotte Mason Coyotes Group for Providing Parent Contract and Children’s Safety Pledge

Child Responsibilities

Cardinals Safety Pledge

I will respect nature by

  staying ON THE TRAIL at all times 

paying close attention to my surroundings 

wearing appropriate shoes and clothing, and bringing water and food 

IF I GET LOST, staying put and calling for help, or using my whistle 

Leaving no trace (throw away all trash)

I will respect the venue and employees of the cultural outing by

Using my inside voice

Not cutting in line

Cleaning up after myself

Not running inside buildings

Not talking while others are performing or presenting

Raising my hand to ask questions (if it is appropriate)

I will respect others by 

not participating in activities that might hurt others, such as 

making and using weapons (throwing rocks, using sticks to hit, etc) fighting  

using words that could hurt others 

Staying off electronic devices (other than for phone calls and maps)

only using my whistle in emergencies 

getting an adult immediately in dangerous situations 

watching out for my friends, and helping them to keep the safety pledge 

I will respect myself by 

STAYING WITHIN VIEW of an adult at all times 

never being alone on a Cardinals outing (never going to the bathroom alone)

listening to all adults present and doing what they tell me 

Never going anywhere with adults I don’t know

using my common sense in all situations – if something FEELS dangerous, it probably is obeying all safety precautions specific to the place I am at

Children will verbally agree in person

Credit: Thanks to the Charlotte Mason Coyotes Group for Providing the Parent Contract and Children’s Safety Pledge

Contact Info, how to RSVP or cancel, email opt out

Pauline and Abello

cell (refer to your email for our cell #’s)

The week before a reminder email will be sent out to the list (if at any time you wish to be removed from the list just hit reply and let me know).  Please RSVP and let me know if you are attending or we will assume you are not.

If you are running late on the day of, please text our cell phones.  In many cases we will need to leave promptly to stay on schedule but we will keep in contact so you can catch up and we will know to be looking for you.
If you know in advance you cannot make (and you have previously RSVP’d that you were coming) and email to Pauline is sufficient notice (at least the night before) to let me know your plans have changed.

Sample of 2019-2020 Events

(Our season was cut short due to Corona)

Friday, 10/11/2019 Japanese Friendship Garden Astronomy Telescope Viewing

This was a great event for all but especially for our 4th grade students who are studying Astronomy in science. Pictures of this event can be viewed here.

Thursday, 10/24/2019 U-Pick Garden Visit and Fall Festival at Schnepf Farms

Pictures and blog of this event can be viewed here.

Saturday, 11/9/2019 Guided Walk and Bird Encounter – Rio Salado Audubon Center

We all loved seeing such a broad variety of birds! Who knew there was such an oasis right in the middle of downtown Phoenix. This was especially great for our 6th graders who were learning “What’s That Bird” Science class. Pictures from the event can be viewed here.

Saturday, 11/23/2019, Free Beginner Archery Class and Nature Outing

Pictures from event can be viewed here.

Sunday, 11/24/2019, Handel’s Messiah Sing-along at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Pictures from even can be viewed here.

Friday, 12/6/2019, Carefree Botanical Garden Walking Tour and Tree Lighting Ceremony

We all enjoyed a beautiful Arizona winter day and learned a lot of new desert trees! This was a perfect accompaniment to the 7th graders who are learning “The Book of the Trees” for science. They are required to nature journal trees as part of their curriculum so this was a great way to get some ideas. Pictures from the event can be viewed here.

Friday, 12/6/2019, Winter Wonder at Scottsdale Bible Church

We enjoyed a spectacular musical performance honoring the birth of our Savior.

Friday, 1/10/2020, Sears Kay Ruins Trail Hike, Carefree, AZ (Tonto National Forest)

This was the perfect hike for all ages. The kids got a real treat at the end to see real indian ruins and a GIGANTIC boulder! Pictures of event here.

Saturday, 1/18/2020, H.E.N. Homeschool Entrepreneur Network Meeting and Lunch

1/26/2020 Choral Evensong at Trinity Cathedral

Tuesday, 1/28/20 Mapping Early Phoenix at Heritage Square and tour of Historic Rosson House and Rose Garden

Pictures of the event can be seen here.

Thursday, 2/13/2020, Shakespeare’s Play The Tempest @ GCU

Friday, 2/14/2020, Fishing and/or Hiking Trip – Jojoba Trail @ Bartlett Lake

Pictures of event here.

Thursday, 2/20/2020, CANCELED Telescope Viewing Star Gazing Party @ Black Mountain Campus (BMC)

Canceled due to clouds.

Sunday, 2/23/2020 @ 2:00pm Midsummer Night’s Dream at Mesa Arts Center and Organ Stop Pizza for dinner

This was so incredibly well done. We laughed until we cried. It was in every way how Shakespeare should be learned! Perfect for our 9th graders who read Midsummer Night’s Dream in literature. Pictures and blog of the event are here.

Tuesday, 2/25/2020, Renaissance Festival Student Day

Such an enjoyable visit, the weather was perfect and the student days were appropriate for young eyes. Things were cheaper and the day was shorter. We had a great time. Excellent for our 6th grade students who are learning Medieval History. Pictures from the event can be seen here.

Friday, 3/13/2020 Hiking and/or Fishing trip at Rattlesnake Cove at Bartlett Lake

Saturday, 3/21/2020 Birding nature walk at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve

We had our 6th grade “What’s That Bird” Science Curriculum in mind for this one but it was sadly canceled due to Corona.

Sunday, 3/22/2020 Lenten Concert | The Passion of Our Lord According to St Mark at Trinity Cathedral