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Nature Study Goals 2016 – Year End Recap

Handbook of Nature Study Goals 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Nature Study Goals 2016- End of the Year Update

1. Complete 2 out of 4 Outdoor Hour Challenges each month posted on Fridays.
I did fairly well for the first part of the year but then tapered off drastically at the end of the year. I know consistency is really the key to nature study so I will be putting this on my goal list again next year.

This made me a little sad. I haven’t been as diligent in posting about our nature experiences as I would like to as the self-appointed leader of this Outdoor Hour Challenge project. The problem isn’t with getting outside or the actual completing of the challenges because I rarely miss out on that part of this goal. But, I do fall down a bit on the recording of the experiences here on my blog. Earlier this week I went through and created some nature journal pages for October, November, and December and I will be sharing those here on the blog.

2. Research and learn about four birds. Learn the call, field marks, and create a nature journal.

  • Osprey
  • Great Blue Heron
  • California Towhee
  • Oak Titmouse

3. Focus on learning my local wildflowers. Create some sort of record of each flower.


I shared how I started a record of wildflowers observed in a separate notebook starting back in the first quarter. I was able to keep this going all year! I found this method of recording both local wildflowers and flowers I saw during our travels to be efficient and satisfying. I am going to start another notebook in 2017!
4. Take Yosemite photos from the Yosemite photography book– We didn’t take any Yosemite trips in the last quarter of the year.  As a year-long project, I enjoyed taking the time to find out more about the beautiful national park that is so dear to my heart. I think we accomplished enough towards this goal during 2016 that I can call it a success.
5. Visit a new national park.

Cabrillo National Monument

Shenandoah National Park

Devil’s Postpile National Monument


6. Visit two new state parks.

California State Parks: San Clemente State Park, South Yuba River State Park.

Oregon State Parks: La Pine State Park, Silver Falls State Park, South Beach State Park, Jessie Honeyman State Park. We also went to Cape Perpetua, Hecata Head, Cape Foulweather, and Yaquina Head.

7. Identify three rocks from my original challenge.

I was able to observe, study, and then journal about one rock this year, basalt.

8. Read 10 nature related book!

I finished 7 books and their reviews as part of this nature goal. I am in the middle of reading/using the eighth book, Laws Guide to Nature Drawing. Look for a review soon!

How did your nature goals play out this year?

Nature Study Goals 2017 Planning Page

Free Nature Goal Planning Notebook Page


Nature Book Project Planner Page @handbookofnaturestudy

Free Nature Book Project planning notebook page.

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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!



6 thoughts on “Nature Study Goals 2016 – Year End Recap

  1. Barb,

    I enjoy reading these nature study goal notes. They provide me with inspiration. I did not have nature goals, but rather hiking goals, for 2016. Unfortunately, I did not reach all of my goals, but I did make progress. I don’t want to be a slave to my goals, I want them to provide me with motivation, so I am not going to beat myself up over missing some.

    Although I have not had specific nature goals, I find myself looking things up when I get home after a hike. What I need to do is to find a better way to note interesting things on my hike so that I remember them later. I take a lot of pictures, but either writing some comments down or recording a comment using my phone when I am on the hike may be a way to keep track of things of interest.

    I am working now on my hiking goals for 2017. Your post has provided me with food for thought. Adding some books to my goals is a good idea. I also think choosing a couple of birds, trees, or wildflowers to focus on, especially if they come up during a hike would help me learn more. One thing I have trouble with is keeping a journal. I have started multiple times, but always end up giving it up. Maybe if I start taking a small notebook to jot down thoughts as I am on the trail (I can always use an opportunity to catch my breath – “Oh, just need to jot this thought down.”) it will eventually become more than just random notes.

    Thanks for the inspiration and Happy New Year!


    1. Sarah- your hiking goals were really ambitious! I read your hiking entries and I am always encouraged to find hiking trails in my neck of the woods. I have already decided that most of my goals for 2017 are going to be centered around journaling. You are so right about missing opportunities and then regretting it. Thank you for the comment and sharing your thoughts with me…they do inspire me back!

      1. Well, your visit to CT was a wake-up call for me. (I’d like to think I’d be better at answering questions about MA, NH, or ME, but now I wonder). There are so many places I have never been to. I’m afraid I wasn’t much help to you. I need to start exploring my own state more!


        1. We are contemplating a move to Oregon and it gets me excited to explore new places but also sad that I am leaving behind my favorite trails and familiar sights. I think it has helped me dig a little deeper to create memories that will last long after the hikes. Photos help but the journal is really the heart of the memories at this point. I hate when I skip an entry. It is all a big learning process!

  2. Thank you for your honesty and transparency, Barb – I had to let go of my goals this year, as my husband was critically ill since May. However, the good news is crises help us evaluate how we “redeem the time” ~ by necessity, we simplified life, and found freedom. I’m looking forward to getting back to a new normal in 2017 – a year of health, happiness and purpose!

    1. Goals are something I aim at and keep in mind as I plan my days. But, as you say, our family should always take first place. I hope 2017 is a healthy year for all of us…thanks for your comment and your support over the years.

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