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Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Homeschool Nature Walk

We are continuing our festive theme of finding Christmassy reds and greens in nature. This homeschool nature outdoor hour challenge includes the greens of winter with a moss and lichen nature walk. Here is how you can enjoy a greens of winter nature walk too!

Take a Walk to Find Greens of Winter in a Moss and Lichen Homeschool Nature Walk

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

It was a cold, frozen day but if we stopped and looked closely….there was beauty all around us.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

These lichens are just so interesting! Did you know that lichens are not plants at all? The are complex organisms formed by a symbiotic relationship between fungus and an algae. They will certainly make for a fascinating, in-depth study!

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

Even on the tree branches it was beautiful. So many shades of green!

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk

After a bracing walk hunting for these wonderful non-vascular plants, an afternoon spent painting in your nature journal may just be the perfect way to wrap up the day. You might even decide to paint while warming up next to a warm fire.

Not up for an outdoor walk due to the weather? We share details on Taking Your Winter Nature Studies Indoors.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk
Shirley’s Nature Journal from Building a Household of Faith

Join the Nature Study Homeschool Membership for Helpful Tips Year Round

Next week we start our first Outdoor Hour Challenge (OHC) of the new year. We will be looking at winter tree silhouettes. The nature study plans for 2022 and the corresponding ebooks are available for our members to download. Be sure to download in preparation of an exciting new year of outdoor hour challenges.

Greens of Winter, Moss and Lichen Nature Walk - Continuing the theme of festive colour found in nature, join us on a greens of winter moss and lichen nature walk.

If you are not yet a member but would like to join and receive access to all the curriculum books, the interactive nature study calendar and fresh new posts every Friday then please consider joining the homeschool nature study membership now.

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Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Lichen on Rocks and More

Lichen Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Lichen Nature Study

This week we are going to take a closer look at lichen using the Outdoor Hour Challenge.
From the archives: Outdoor Hour Challenge #42 Moss and Lichen.

If you own the Discover Nature Close to Home book, you can find loads of information on pages 110-119. (Note this is an affiliate link.)

For members of the Handbook of Nature Study, you can look up the March 2013 newsletter that featured mushrooms, lichen, and moss. All levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study include the newsletter archives.


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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – March 2016 Lichen and Moss

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter March 2016 Cover

Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter

March 2016 – Lichen and Moss


Please read the following explanation outlining how to get this month’s newsletter.

The newsletter link is not in this email but will come separately. There may be a delay in your receiving the email so please don’t email me until the second day of the month if you haven’t received the link on the first. For some reason, some email providers take longer to receive the newsletter email.

If you don’t receive the separate email with the download link, you probably aren’t subscribed to the blog yet. This will take less than a minute to do if you follow the steps below.

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If you need to subscribe:

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  • Once you subscribe, you will receive a thank you email from me with the download link.

This month’s newsletter link will be available only during the month of March so be sure to download it before 3/31/16.

Remember! All of the archived and current newsletters are available as part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library…every level!
Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter March 2016 button

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:

  • This edition of the newsletter features ideas, resources, and links to enhance any study of lichen and moss.
  • Contributions from Outdoor Hour Challenge participants Paige Hudson  , Nadene from Practical Pages, and Alex from Life on an Island Studio.
  • March Nature Study Planning Page with field trip ideas, nature photo ideas, and a special 15 minute challenge for parents.
  • Lichen Study printable notebook page which can be used as a nature journal topper as well.

Resources for your Nature Library: I have started to build a nature library store on Amazon that will feature by category my favorite nature study books and resources. Take a look and see if there is anything you would like to put on your wish list for your family’s nature study library: Handbook of Nature Study Nature Library Suggestions on Note this is my affiliate store to items I personally recommend and have read or seen in person.

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.


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Need help getting started with your nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study? Check out the fresh “Getting Started” page here on the website!


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Moss on Our Nature Table and Up-Close

What a delightful addition to our nature table! Moss in a pot adds some color and texture to our little growing area of the nature table where we also have several varieties of cactus growing. The light seems just about right here for the moss and so far we have watered it once a week and it is still going strong.

The moss on the plate above was the specimen we brought inside to examine as part of the Moss Challenge from last week. We viewed it closely with our eyes, magnifying lens, and camera lens. There really is a lot to see and the parts of the moss are really interesting.

After viewing, I took a small pot and filled it with some regular garden soil and then placed our specimen on the top. I watered it well from the top and then pressed it firmly onto the soil. I did a little research and it said that moss really does like to be watered from the bottom so when I need to water it I place it in a small bowl of water and let it sit until the whole thing is moist.

Moss and capsules up close @handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.comHere are few images that we took with our camera…really showing the capsules and the stems.

Moss up close

Amazing structure and no wonder it is soft and enjoyable to the touch!

Our front yard is a great habitat for moss since we pulled out the lawn. The cracks in the pavers and the area below the retaining wall have moss that adds such a great feel to the yard. We did not plan on the moss but it just invited itself to grow in the cracks and crannies.

The big rocks in the foreground were bright green with moss a month or so ago but since we have had warmer temperatures and drier days the moss has turned sort of brown. I know with the next rain it will green up again so I will enjoy that when it happens. You can see our Lamb’s ear plant here in this image…one of my favorite low water plants in our front yard….I know it spreads but with the big rocks right there and the retaining wall behind, it can’t go too far.

So there you go…our continuing moss study! Don’t forget there is a free printable in the Moss and Lichen Challenge that you can use to record your own moss study.

How about your family? Have you found some moss to explore with all your senses?

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Lichen and Moss Nature Study

“The mosses are a special delight to children because they are green and beautiful before other plants have gained their greenness in the spring and after they have lost it in the fall; to the discerning eye, a mossy bank or a mossy log is a thing of beauty always.” 
Handbook of Nature Study, page 709 

Outdoor Hour Challenge:
This week continue looking for lichen and moss to examine closely. Use lots of descriptive words as you observe your subjects. You can view and use the information from Outdoor Hour Challenge #42: Moss and Lichen. 

Weekly Challenge Activity: Moss Observation

Free Printable Moss Observation Notebook Page

Use this notebook page to record your sketch and notes about any moss you find this month as part of your outdoor time. The Handbook of Nature Study has information about Hair-cap moss in Lesson 197.

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2.  This is the perfect challenge to put all those wonderful moss and lichen words in your nature journal records. Help your child get started by spending a few minutes discussing all the amazing things you noticed about moss and lichen while outdoors. 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Family Mushroom/Lichen/Moss Grid Study

Fungus, lichen, and moss have been at the top of our nature study list for a few weeks now in anticipation of this month’s grid study….that is one advantage to being the author of the challenges. 🙂

I feel like we have done a decent job so far at keeping our eyes open and finding some subjects for our fungus, lichen, and moss studies.  I highly recommend pulling out your March Newsletter and printing out the Study Grid….keep it in sight so you will remember to spend a few minutes each week looking for subjects to enjoy.

Words that come to mind as part of this grid study are amazing, colorful, and surprising.

Amazing – How do I miss really seeing all these lovely things? The more time we spend looking at them up close, the more amazed we are at their variety and heartiness.

Colorful – From deep greens and bright spring greens to orange and then all the way to black….there is no end to the variations.

Surprising – We found subjects at the river’s edge, alongside our walking trail, up in the mountains in the snow, and in our own yard.

Here is my number one moss, lichen, and fungus hunting buddy….after her swim in the river. Kona is always ready to accompany us on our expeditions…especially if there is water involved. She is also amazing, colorful, and surprising…

Hopefully you are finding some things of interest for your own Mushroom/Lichen/Moss study….make sure to share your entries with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.

OHC Blog Carnival
You are welcome to submit any of you blog Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Entries for the current month are due on 3/30/13..

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Don’t Make the Mistake in Thinking You Aren’t Interested in Moss or Lichen

Have you started off this month thinking that you can’t face a month long study of mushrooms, moss, and lichen? Did you print the newsletter and look at the grids and wonder how your could possibly find anything interesting to occupy you for this month’s grid study? I don’t think you are alone…in fact, a number of years ago I might have felt the same way too.

Honestly, this month and next month are the months that I have sort of dreaded preparing for the monthly challenges. Both this month’s topic and next month’s topic of reptiles and amphibians are not easy ones for many of us girl types.

But, I would like to encourage you with yesterday’s family walk to the river where we found an abundance of moss and lichen to get our interest and our powers of observation going. Once we started looking for moss and lichen, we saw it everywhere!

The shapes, patterns, colors, and textures were all so different and interesting. There was moss on rocks and tree bark and lichen on riches in varying colors. It made our hike to the river and back a delight.

My best advice is to give it a try by printing out the Mushroom, Lichen, and Moss Grid and bookmark. Share it with your children and then follow along each Friday with the suggested study, preparation, and then activities. I almost guarantee that you will learn something interesting.

Who knows? You may even end up enjoying this month’s study and become fascinated with this topic like I have over the years.

Here is a list of the twelve topics that we are covering this year on the Handbook of Nature Study.

  • September 2012 Insects
  • October 2012 Trees
  • November 2012 Mammals
  • December 2012 Weather
  • January 2013 – Rocks and Minerals
  • February 2013 – Birds (Great Backyard Bird Count)
  • March 2013 – Moss-Lichen-Mushrooms
  • April 2013 – Reptiles-Amphibians
  • May 2013 – Garden Flowers-Crops
  • June 2013 – Wildflowers-Weeds
  • July 2013 – Fish (Ponds)
  • August 2013 – The Sky and Stars

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Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter – Mushrooms Lichen Moss

Handbook of Nature Study March Newsletter Cover Button
March 2013 – Mushrooms, Lichen, and Moss

I know this month’s topic of mushrooms, lichen, and moss is not going to sound appealing to many of you at first glance. But, I encourage you to give it a try by reading each week’s challenge, covering the material as assigned in the Handbook of Nature Study, and then keeping your eyes open for your nature study opportunities. You can further generate some interest in the topic by gathering any resources you have and picking up a book or two at the library. I encourage everyone to participate as much as possible and if you find you need to switch to another topic that presents itself during the month of March…by all means, go with the interest.

Spring will be here in a few weeks and the mood for nature study will change along with it.

Make sure to download, save, and/or print the newsletter for future reference when you may come across a mushroom or some lichen or moss.

Contents of this edition of the newsletter include: 

  • Articles to inspire and encourage you in your nature study
  • Book recommendations for this month’s study
  • March Study Grid and Bookmark – printables for you to use with your nature journal
  • Mushroom coloring pages
  • Show and Tell from OHC Participants
  • Recommended study links

I have attached the newsletter download link to the bottom of my blog feed so if you are a subscriber you will receive the link to the latest newsletter at the bottom of every post for the month of March. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can still subscribe and receive the newsletter link in the next post that comes to your email box. You can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address in the subscription box on my sidebar.

There are lots of freebies and giveaways planned with my March Blog Sponsor: 

How about we start the month off with lots of free notebooking pages for your family? Click below and get started with a free gift from Debra at  Check your newsletter for additional discount codes and a giveaway announcement!

Note: You can download your newsletter from the link in two ways:


  • If your link is clickable, right click the link and then “save link as” to save the file on your computer.
  • If the link is not clickable, cut and paste the link to your browser, open, and then save your newsletter to your computer.


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Winter Rain Walk in the Woods

Moss and Lichen on a Rock
Crustose lichen and moss

We had a rainstorm from Thursday to Monday which dropped more than eight inches of rain…forgot to dump my rain gauge so I don’t have an accurate total. The rain was so very refreshing and brought a measure of relief to my dry yard. I know we still need more rain but it is nice to have a break now to enjoy the sparkling air, the warm sunshine, and the revived plants and bushes.

Sunday we took advantage of a small break in the rain to walk to the river, probably about a mile’s hike. The woods there are mostly oaks with a few pines and a couple of old madrones. Madrones have such wonderfully smooth red bark and perfectly leaf-shaped leaves. They are not common enough for me to pass by without taking note of just what a pretty tree they are. I didn’t stop to take a photo of a madrone this time but I promise to next time we are on this particular trail.

Winter River Scene
Cold gray winter day at the river

The river was roaring down the canyon and we didn’t stay long to enjoy its beauty since we weren’t sure how long the rain was going to hold off. Besides, it was really cold…much colder than I expected and my fleece jacket really wasn’t enough.

Lichen and fungus
Foliose lichen and bracket fungus

We stopped along the trail coming back to inspect and appreciate the many colors and textures of the lichen on the tree trunks and rocks. Can I call the fungus beautiful too? It was.

Fruticose lichen

We made it back to the car and home just in time for it to pour rain again. I am glad we didn’t miss the chance to experience the winter rain in this little woods…it was quiet, green, and refreshing.

Interested in studying moss and lichen more? You can click over to read a past Outdoor Hour Challenge:
#42 Moss and Lichen

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Moss and Poppies: Living in the Cracks

I love carrying my little point and shoot camera with me when I walk. If something grabs my attention, I can seize the opportunity to capture the moment.

This morning the sun was shining, although the air was crisp. I was the only one out and about the neighborhood. I love that.

We live near a school and a few summers ago they built a sidewalk to nowhere. There really is no rhyme or reason to where it starts and ends. As puzzling as this sidewalk is, it allows me to walk with Kona any time I want without worrying that my shoes will get muddy. We take the brisk walk on the cement down the street to where the sidewalk dead-ends and then we turn around and come back. I have decided they built this sidewalk for me since I rarely see anyone walking on it at any time of the day.

Sidewalk to Nowhere and oaks
Here is the view at our turn around spot. There is a busy road here but the view is pretty with mostly oaks but also a nice mix of conifers.

Creek and Blackberries and thistles
The creek that runs here seasonally is covered in blackberries. I snapped this photo and then realized that there are thistles down here as well! I have my own little thistle patch within walking distance of my front door. You know I will be following their progress throughout the winter and then into spring.

We arrived back at the house in a much better mood than we started out…funny how that always happens no matter how short the walk. I took Kona off the leash and she did what she loves to do….run up to the deck to sit in the sun. I actually took a minute to notice that we have a welcome addition to the remodeled frontyard.

Moss Between the Pavers
We didn’t plan for this to happen but it is a great touch to our new paver walkway. Moss is growing in the cracks. I have always wanted a walkway with moss between the bricks. Thanks moss for inviting yourself!

Poppies in the Cracks
Not only moss but on closer inspection I noticed that there are California poppies emerging from between the cracks as well. I am going to leave them and see what happens as the winter progresses. We planted a scatter garden last fall and these must be volunteers from that batch.

Moss and Sage on My Rock
One last image for you: Here is one of the decorative rocks in our front garden with a bit of moss growing. But, isn’t it pretty with the sage blossoms that have fallen there…love the mix of color. My favorite combination of purple and green.

Another terrific day to be outside enjoying all the bounteous gifts to be seen. Now to make a cup of something warm to heat up these cold hands. Tea or coffee?