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OHC Spring Series #1: Year-Long Tree Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Spring Series #1
Spring Tree Observation

“Like a friend is a tree, in that it needs to be known season after season and year after year in order to be truly appreciated. A person who has not had an intimate, friendly acquaintance with some special tree has missed something from life.”
Anna Botsford Comstock, A Study of a Tree

Inside Preparation Work:
Read pages 625-626 in the Handbook of Nature Study: Spring Work. This part of Lesson 172 should give you lots of things to think about as you prepare for your spring tree study observations. If the tree you chose to study has a section in the Handbook of Nature Study (check the table of contents), you might want to read the lesson for your particular tree in preparation for your Outdoor Hour time as well.

The Handbook of Nature Study suggests measuring the height of your tree using a stick 3½ feet long and a measuring tape. See page 626 Lesson 172 #4 for details.

fall sketch B
Outdoor Hour Time:
Now that spring has come, it is time to check on your tree from your Year-Long Tree Study. If you are just starting out with a tree study, pick a tree from your yard that you can watch through all four seasons. Spend 10-15 minutes of your outdoor time using the ideas from the Handbook of Nature Study to do some focused observations of your tree.

walking on a sequoia
Simple Suggestions for Spring Tree Study:

  1. Pick a tree in your yard or on your street and look for its new leaves and blossoms if appropriate.
  2. Is it just beginning to show leaves? Can you tell if your tree has all of its leaves yet?
  3. Can you see any insects or birds in your tree?
  4. Collect a few leaves to use for leaf rubbings in your nature journal. You could also make a leaf bouquet.
  5. Compare two leaves from the same tree. Are they exactly alike?
  6. Use your nature journal to record a sketch of the leaf and any blossoms.
  7. How has the tree changed since autumn? Winter?

Follow-Up Activity:
After your outdoor time, complete a nature journal entry using the notebook page I provided for the Spring Series, a general notebook page from my freebies page, the original notebook page, or your own blank journal. Photos of your tree are a good record in your nature journal as well.

prints 1
If you would like to make some leaf prints with your spring leaves, please see my blog entry with instructions:
Making Leaf Prints

Drawing your tree can be easy if you follow the instructions found in this file:
Guide to Sketching Trees

If you would like all the Spring Series Challenges in one book, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. The ebook also contains art and music appreciation plans for the winter months as well. Please see this entry for more details:
Spring Series Cover
Spring Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Signs of Spring Bonus Challenge

This is a simple one:

Make sure to mention to your children that Saturday, March 20th is the first day of spring. Take your Outdoor Hour time this week to look for signs of spring in your backyard or neighborhood.

For many of us, this past week has brought warmer temperatures and with the time change, more light in the evenings. This is an exciting time of year for all of us as we anticipate the many changes the new season will bring.


Some signs to look for:

  • Green grass
  • Wildflowers-dandelions
  • Spring bulbs like tulips, crocus, and jonquils
  • Birds, perhaps nesting already
  • Warmer temperatures
  • Blooming trees
  • Insects

You can use the notebook page below to record your signs of spring or you can use your own nature journal.

Spring Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy


Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy