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Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

“Any garden furnishes abundant material for the study of earthworms. They are nocturnal workers and may be observed by lantern or flashlight….For the study of the individual worm and its movements, each pupil should have a worm with some earth upon his desk.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 424

Take 15 minutes of your outdoor hour time to find a place in your yard to dig for worms. If you have a garden or flower bed, you may be successful in finding earthworms just a few inches down in the soil. Use some of the suggested activities from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study to carefully observe your earthworms.

This earthworms homeschool nature study for our members includes:

  • Handbook of Nature Study references and indoor preparation time
  • Suggestions and questions for your Outdoor Hour Time
  • A list of questions to ask during your earthworm nature study time
  • Follow up activity for your nature journal

Members will find the full homeschool nature study in the Spring with Art and Music Appreciation Outdoor Hour course and curriculum.

You can use the notebook page provided with Spring with Art and Music Appreciation course or your own blank nature journal to record you observations and sketches. Don’t forget to sketch and label your earthworm.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

More Resources For Learning About Earthworms

Join Homeschool Nature Study membership today!

Visit our website to find an affordable membership option that suits you. Why not give membership a try for a month and go from there. We would love to have you along for the adventure!

first published May 2010 and updated May 2022

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First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas. It hardly seems possible that we are at the beginning of another spring season but here we go! We look forward to another season of encouraging nature study. Have fun and get outdoors with your children!

First Day of Spring: Simple Ways to Study Nature in Your Homeschool

Inside Preparation Work
1. If you have not read pages 23-24 (How to Use This Book) in the Handbook of Nature Study, please read it now. In addition, read the section on The Field Excursion on page 15. Highlight interesting sections as reminders.
2. Prepare your children for your outdoor time by explaining the purpose. For this challenge, use the ideas from Outdoor Hour Challenge #2—Using Your Words in our FREE Getting Started Homeschool Nature Study Guide which is take a short walk in your yard or neighborhood and then come back inside and record words to describe your experience.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

Spring Splendor Nature Walk Ideas

Homeschool Nature Study Members: Before beginning this series of challenges, use the Spring Splendor Notebook Page (Challenge on page 8 of your Spring Nature Study Curriculum and notebook page linked there as well) to build enthusiasm for the spring series of nature study. Keep the page in the front of your nature journal as a reminder of the three questions you hope to answer and the three activities you hope to accomplish.

Outdoor Hour Homeschool Nature Study Time

1. Enjoy some time outdoors this week as part of this challenge, including a few minutes of quiet observation if possible. Observe what early spring looks like in your neighborhood. Use all your senses. If you have young children, taking a walk and enjoying the season is the main point. You can work on adding words as your child gains confidence in nature study.
2. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Use the Spring Nature Walk Worksheet notebook page if you want more structure to your time outdoors.
3. Collect an item to sketch into your nature journal, perhaps a leaf or a flower.
4. Advanced Study: Take photos of spring flowers, birds, trees, leaves, or other objects you see during your outdoor time. Try taking photos from different angles and up close.

Follow-Up Activity

1. Use the Spring Splendor notebook page (Homeschool Nature Study Members) or your nature journal to record your time outdoors, including the prompts for descriptive words. You can brainstorm words with your children if they have trouble. Sketch or watercolor your spring scene in your nature journal or onto your notebook page.
2. Advanced Follow-Up: Make a slideshow with the images you took of your spring splendor walk. You can also print the images and include them in your nature journal.
3. Homeschool Nature Study Members: Optional coloring pages: Spring Woods 1 and Spring Woods 2.

We are excited to get started on this first day of spring with simple ways to study nature and a fresh set of homeschool nature study ideas.

More Spring Homeschool Nature Study

You might also like these simple ways to study nature in your homeschool!

Outdoor Hour Challenges with Homeschool Nature Study

If you enjoy any of these first day of spring nature study ideas, please share with us! Take a photo, share on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge – we would love to see and to comment!

John Muir quote

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these spring homeschool resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing homeschool nature study series plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

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Spring Homeschool Nature Study Curriculum With Art and Music Appreciation

This spring homeschool nature study curriculum contains all the nature study Outdoor Hour Challenges, custom notebook pages for nature study as well as three months’ worth of art and music appreciation.

The Spring Homeschool Nature Study for Members Includes Nature Study Lesson Plans:

  • 10 Outdoor Hour Challenges – 6 completely new nature study lesson plans – Outdoor Hour Challenges and 4 continuing studies for your spring homeschool (Seasonal Tree, Weather, Cattail, and Bird). All the Outdoor Hour Challenges in this nature study curriculum are based on the Handbook of Nature Study and include page numbers and suggested learning observations.
  • 10 Outdoor Hour Challenge notebook pages and nature journal suggestions.
  • 3 months’ worth of art and music appreciation- 3 composers and 3 artists with links, prints to view, coordinating projects, a coloring page, and notebook pages. Also included in two of the months are additional ideas for studying several instruments in the orchestra along with your listening time.
  • Ideas for nature study field trips other than your normal Outdoor Hour Challenge backyard adventures.
  • Links for further enrichment for each Outdoor Hour Challenge, artist study, and composer study.
  • Complete list of resources and instructions to get started with this nature study curriculum.
  • 50 pages
  • Topics Include: Year-Long Tree Study, Spring Weather, Spring Bird, Dandelions, Spring Cattail, Apple Tree, Cats, Snakes, Earthworms, and Ants.
  • Updated January 2022.
Outdoor Hour Challenges homeschool curriculum with art and music appreciation.
Photo by Erin Vincent and her Spring Art Celebration!

Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum Included

You will have a complete plan at your fingertips for your spring nature study, art appreciation, and music study. You will need to have the Handbook of Nature Study in order to complete the nature study challenges. All of the art prints are included in the ebook and there are links to viewing them online as well.

Art and Music Appreciation Spring Homeschool Curriculum Included

This time the three featured composers and their music are offered on one CD: Classical Music Start-Up Kit Volume Two. You can choose to purchase this CD for convenience or use the online links to listen to the music suggested in the music appreciation plans. I have aimed to keep these challenges and homeschool activities as simple as possible with very few additional resources needed.

Spring homeschool nature study curriculum contains Outdoor Hour Challenges, custom notebook pages as well as art and music appreciation.

Join Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Homeschool Resources and Support Year Round!

Spring Homeschool Nature with Art and Music Appreciation is available in membership, along with access to 26+ Outdoor Hour Challenge Homeschool Curriculum and courses, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges, a monthly nature calendar with daily nature study prompts and more!

Enjoy nature study, art appreciation and music studies all in one plan for your spring homeschool!

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Guide to Spring Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

Getting outside with our children can be the sanity saving activity we all need. As spring approaches, have you considered adding a little nature study into your weekly routine? I’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, stating that they thought it would restrict their freedom to focus on one topic. But, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside and it helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.

Guide to Spring Nature Study in Your Homeschool

Here are some ideas from year-long nature study topics that we have hosted with the Outdoor Hour Challenge. All of these are available in Homeschool Nature Study Membership.

  • Spring Weather Observations
  • Spring Splendor Walk – spring nature walk scavenger hunt
  • Signs of Spring – Outdoor Hour Challenge
  • Spring Bird Observations
  • Seasonal Cattail Study
  • Seasonal Milkweed Study
  • Year-Long Pond Study
  • Year-Long Queen Anne’s Lace Study
  • Burdock Study – start a year-long study

You may wish to start a new year-long study this spring using some of the ideas above.

Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

The key is to make a regular habit of getting outside and taking note of things that interest your family. You can even enjoy spring nature study in your homeschool with multiple ages.

Spring is a fantastic time to start a season of nature study. Please see the offerings listed below along with their specific topics. Consider working through a course in our membership or you can pick and choose subjects from any of the courses. Without a lot of extra effort, you can customize your spring nature study by picking your favorite topics from any of the courses listed. Or you can follow the wonderful Nature Study Plan that your Outdoor Hour Challenge hostess, Shirley Ann Vels, has put together for you. There is a brand new Outdoor Hour Challenge for our members each Friday!

Spring Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

Spring With Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

Did you know this course also contains art and music appreciation? Here is a sampling of the Outdoor Hour Challenges you will find.

  • Spring Peepers
  • Jack in the Pulpit
  • Yellow Ladies Slipper/Yellow Adder’s Tongue
  • Trillium
  • Bluets
  • May Apple
  • Newt
  • Petunias
  • Geranium
  • Nasturtiums
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Crayfish
  • Mountain Laurel
nature journaling

More Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenges – Spring Splendor Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum

  • Spring Splendor Walk
  • Buds, Catkins, and Blossoms
  • Spring Birds – Robin
  • Spring Wildflowers – Buttercups and Poppies
  • Spring Mammal – Goats
  • Spring Tree – Dogwood
  • Ferns
  • Vines – Sweet Pea, Dodder, or Hedge Bindweed
  • Garden Snails
  • Blue Flag Iris
Handbook of Nature Study book for homeschool nature study
More on The Handbook of Nature Study book here.

Spring Series Course and Outdoor Hour Challenges for Your Homeschool

  • Signs of Spring-Bonus challenge
  • Maple Tree Observation Sheet
  • #1 Year-Long Tree Study
  • #2 Spring Weather Observations
  • #3 Spring Bird Study
  • #4 Spring Wildflower Study-Dandelions
  • #5 Spring Cattail Observations
  • #6 Apple Tree Study
  • #7 Cats
  • #8 Snakes
  • #9 Earthworms
  • #10 Ants
Garden Handbook of Nature Study curriculum

The Garden Flower and Plant Course and Handbook of Nature Study Curriculum for Homeschool

  • #12 Focus on Garden Flowers – Seeds
  • #13 Garden Flowers – Flower Parts
  • #14 Garden Flowers – Pressing Flowers
  • #15 Garden Flowers – How To Draw A Flower
  • #16 Garden Flowers – Sunflowers
  • #17 Garden Flowers – Collecting Leaves
  • #18 Garden Flowers – Pollen
  • #19 Garden Flowers – Seeds and Germination
  • #29 Sunflowers
  • #30 Weeds and Seeds
spring art celebration

Spring Homeschool Nature Study with Art

A fun way to expand your homeschool nature studies is with art! You will love this Spring Art Celebration with a theme of All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small. Our sister site has a host of lovely spring art activities for you!

Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season with this guide to spring nature study in your homeschool.

Spring Nature Study With Art and Music Appreciation

You will have a complete plan at your fingertips for your spring nature study, art appreciation, and music study. You will need to have the Handbook of Nature Study in order to complete the nature study challenges. All of the art prints are included in the ebook and there are links to viewing them online as well. There are three featured composers and their music are offered on one CD: Classical Music Start-Up Kit Volume Two. You can choose to purchase this CD for convenience or use the online links to listen to the music suggested in the music appreciation plans. We have aimed to keep these challenges and studies as simple as possible with very few additional resources needed.

Won’t you join us for spring nature study?

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Early Spring Grid

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Early Spring Grid – Printable from the March 2012 Newsletter

Look in the Newsletter Archives for this Outdoor Hour Challenge.

No matter where you live and what early spring looks like in your world, it should be a perfect time to start getting back outdoors regularly each week as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have always said that spring is their favorite time to do nature study with their children.

Join us this week for an easy nature study idea!

March 2012 Newsletter Cover

The activities in the Early Spring Grid (March 2012 Newsletter) are simple enough for most of us to complete without a lot of extra planning or work.

March Early Spring Grid Nature Study printable

Print this page out and cut out the grid to adhere in your nature journal. As you finish each suggested activity, cross off the box (or shade it in with colored pencils).

Nature Study Newsletter grid example pages (7)
Here is an example of how to include the grid in your nature journal.

 

Another suggestion is to post the Early Spring Grid on your refrigerator with a magnet. This will be a reminder to do a few spring related nature activities as you go through the month of March.

Newsletter Index download

The newsletter archive is available to all members.

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time. You can use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

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Spring Ebooks from the Ultimate Naturalist Library!

Spring Ebooks from the Ultimate Naturalist Library!

Getting outside with our children has been the sanity saving activity we all needed this past year. As spring approaches, have you considered adding a little nature study into your weekly routine? I’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, stating that they thought it would restrict their freedom to focus on one topic. But, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside and it helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.

The key is to make a regular habit of getting outside and taking note of things that interest your family.

If you’re looking for a more “free form” style of nature study, I invite you to read this post from my archives: Focus and Consistency

Spring is a fantastic time to start a season of nature study. Please see the ebooks listed below along with their specific topics. Consider working through an ebook or you can pick and choose subjects from any of the ebooks. Without a lot of extra effort, you can customize your spring nature study by picking your favorite topics from any of the ebooks listed.

Spring Ebooks Graphic button

Spring Nature Study Continues

Did you know this ebook also contains art and music appreciation?

More Nature Study Book #3 Outdoor Hour Challenges – Spring Splendor

Spring Series 2010 Ebook Challenges:

The Garden Flower and Plant Challenges in the Ebook: 

The Ultimate Naturalist Library currently has 26 ebooks covering hundreds of topics. There are 76 newsletters in the archives and dozens of printables available too!

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Please click over to see all the benefits of a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Right now, I’m offering a super discount just to get you started.

Use the discount code SPRINGFUN to receive $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership! The discount code will expire on 3/27/2021.

The current library contains 26 ebooks covering hundreds of topics. There are 76 newsletters in the library and dozens of printables in addition to the ebooks!

 

 

 

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Our Early Spring Wildflowers

Last month I posted an entry discussing the emergence of spring wildflowers…the early ones. Read that entry here: Wildflower Succession and Ephemerals.

I’ve been on the lookout for our early spring wildflowers and the list is rather short so far.

Dandelions wildflower or weed

Dandelions – The dandelions in our yard and down by the river are very short. They don’t grow very tall at all and I assume that’s because of our cold temperatures.  They are still such a happy sight after the winter grays and browns.

small white flowers wildflowers april 2020 oregon

Tiny White Flowers – The pasture behind our house has lots of miniature blooming white flowers. I’ve tried in the past to identify them, but so far I’ve had no success.  If you don’t look closely, you’ll actually miss them, they are so very small.

manzanita shrub flowers spring

We took a drive on a long, dirt forestry road this week and we spotted the green Manzanita blooming already. The insects were buzzing around all of the pink flowers dangling from the branches.

Those three flowering plants are really the only ones I’ve observed so far.

As I look at my records for the past two years, I notice that the bushes bloom before the wildflowers here in Central Oregon.

But, there are plenty of signs of flowers that are coming. From our recent wanderings, we’ve noted the promise of a few more flowers.

wild iris wildflower spring oregon

There are thousands of wild purple irises beginning to sprout their green flat leaves. We see them everywhere on our daily walks and they promise to bring beautiful flowers in the near future.

bitterbrush oregon spring leaves

The bitter brush is starting to leaf out and it will soon be loaded with small, yellow flowers.

wild currant shrub wildflower leaves spring

The wild wax currant bushes are also leafing out with their bloom time following closely behind the leaves.

I realized this week how anxious I am for some wildflower beauty in my life. With our short growing season, the flowers bloom consecutively all summer long and end with a flourish of golden rabbitbrush color in the fall.

rabbitbrush oregon fallLearning the bloom patterns of the natives in my neighborhood is a project I really enjoy.

Have you noticed any wildflowers blooming yet?

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 1 promo buttonOutdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook two promo buttonOutdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 3 promo button

 

 

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Spring Nature Study Ideas and Reminders


 Seasonal Topics - Spring Reminders @handbookofnaturestudy

Here are some ideas from year-long nature study topics we’ve done in the past:

Spring Weather Observations – free printable notebook page

Spring Splendor Walk – spring nature walk scavenger hunt

Signs of Spring – Outdoor Hour Challenge – printable notebook page

Spring Bird Observations – free printable bird list

Seasonal Cattail Study – with free printable

Seasonal Milkweed Study – with free printable notebook page

Year-Long Pond Study – with a free printable notebook page

Year-Long Queen Anne’s Lace Study and a free printable notebook page

Burdock Study – start a year-long study

NOTE: You may wish to start a new year-long study this spring using some of the ideas above. Spring is a wonderful beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity and season.

Spring Ebooks Graphic button

The current library contains 25 ebooks covering hundreds of topics. There are 76 newsletters in the library and dozens of printables in addition to the ebooks!

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

Right now, use the discount code SPRINGBREAK  for $10 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. This offer will be valid until 3/31/2020. 

 

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Wildflower Succession and Ephemerals

Wildflower Succession and Ephemerals

Wildflowers take their “turns” as they bloom through each season. This idea came to me years ago as I hiked the same trail many times a month and I noted that a certain meadow always had a flower blooming. The wildflowers don’t all bloom at the same time but they do bloom in the same order each year. This “cycle” or succession of flowers gives us a way to mark time.

spring wildflowersIn the early spring, the meadow comes alive with popcorn flower. Next to bloom are the shooting stars, the California poppies, and the purple Chinese houses. Making observations of the meadow has become an annual activity for me and it is enjoyable to know which flowers to anticipate as the season goes on.  The early spring wildflowers make their appearance before the surrounding trees leaf out and make shade. These plants quickly flower and go to seed, waiting for the next year to bloom again.

This cycle of flowering and then seed dropping fascinates me. I imagine all those seeds layered there in the soil just waiting for the conditions to be right in order for them to start their blooming cycle again the next year.

Wildflower spring ephemerals lupine

Spring ephemerals: Ephemeral means short lived or lasting for a brief time. In the case of wildflowers, these are usually the first flowers to develop stems, leaves, and flowers. They spring up quickly, bloom, seed, and then disappear once the temperatures heat up and the trees grow overhead.  They don’t really die but go dormant.

Here are some from my Sierra Foothill habitat in California:

¨ Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum

¨ California Golden Violet, Viola pedunculata

¨ Elegant Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans

¨ Hooker’s Evening Primrose, Oenothera elata hookeri

¨ Mariposa or Butterfly Lily, Calochortus venustus

¨ Miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata

¨ Miniature lupine, Lupinus bicolor

¨ Owl’s Clover or Valley Tassels, Castilleja lineariloba

¨ Pretty Face, Triteleia ixioides

¨ Rose Globe or Fairy Lily, Calochortus amoenus

¨ Shooting Star, Dodecatheon jeffreyi

What are the spring ephemeral wildflowers in your area?

 Wildflower Succession and Spring Ephemerals

Activity

Wildflower Succession in Your Neighborhood

Choose a wildflower that grows in your neighborhood to watch each spring. Create a long term record of its initial bloom time each year. Use the data and compare the dates from year to year. Did weather– rainfall, snowfall, temperature– affect its blooming?

Wildflower Related Citizen Science Project Opportunity

Join Nature’s Notebook and make observations of a specific plant (or animal) in your area. By submitting data to this program, you will be helping scientists in their research. See the website for details and instructions. Click here for more information: Nature’s Notebook.

 

Newsletter Index download

This article first appeared in the April 2016 Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter.

 Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 1 promo button

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook two promo button

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Ebook 3 promo button

You may wish to download one of the wildflower ebooks from your Ultimate Naturalist Library and use it this spring and summer for your nature study time.

 

Here is a list of the wildflowers included in those ebooks:

Ebook #1: Field mustard, Wild radish, Shooting star, Lupine, Purple Chinese houses, Yarrow.

Eboook #2: Henbit, Cow parsnip, Columbine, Chicory, Cocklebur.

Ebook #3: Fireweed, Salsify, Forget-Me-Not, Paintbrush, Common silverweed.

 

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020If you still need a membership, click the graphic above to find out more about joining now.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

You can also find many more wildflower nature study challenges on the Wildflower tab on the website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Ebooks from the Ultimate Naturalist Library!

Spring Ebooks from the Ultimate Naturalist Library!

I think we’re all ready for some awesome spring nature study after a long winter’s stretch of cold and gray days. Spring is the perfect time to get started with nature study if you’ve been putting it off! If you use the Outdoor Hour Challenges, there is no shortage of fun and easy nature study activities to choose from…just see the list below.

Spring Ebooks Graphic button

Spring Nature Study Continues

More Nature Study Book #3 Outdoor Hour Challenges – Spring Splendor

Spring Series 2010 Ebook Challenges:

The Garden Flower and Plant Challenges in the Ebook: 

In addition to the Outdoor Hour Challenges listed above, you can use any of the spring newsletters in the archives if you have a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

Use the code OHC10 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Benefits by Level graphic 2019 to 2020 updated January 2020