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Homeschool Fall Leaf Study And Activities (perfect for all ages)

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf study in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Celebrate The First Day of Fall

Here is a fun idea for the first day of fall and your fall leaf tour!

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Homeschool Fall Leaf Study And Activities

This study is designed to be completed with what you have around you. As the leaves turn, head outside, notice fall colors and collect some different colored leaves.

Compare Leaves from Two Different Trees

  • Leaf shape and leaf margins.
  • Leaf arrangement on the stem.
  • Leaf color, texture, and size. (You can measure if you wish.)
  • Come back in from your walk and follow up with a journal page.

Take a Fall Color Walk For Your Nature Study

To continue your fall leaf tour, take a fall color walk! We also start to take more hikes now that the afternoons are a bit cooler. We have our favorite trails and try to get outside every day to see what we can find of interest.

Read in the Handbook of Nature Study page 14, “The Field Excursion”. The reason I want you to read this section is so you have a better understanding of how to prepare you children for a short outdoor excursion with a purpose. Let them know ahead of time the reason you are going outdoors, have them gather their supplies, and then make the excursion outside to look for fall colors.

With our Printable Autumn Series Field Notebook included in membership, you can enjoy these studies and journal pages:

  • Seasonal tree study
  • Goldenrod
  • Oaks & acorns
  • Fall bird study
  • Squirrels
  • Mushrooms
  • Pumpkins
  • Field Notebook List

Fall Color Challenge Activity: Match Leaf Color to Your Art Supplies

A more detailed advanced study for upper level students is included in membership. Here is a peek at what you can enjoy as you continue your fall leaf tour.

Collect a variety of colorful leaves and bring them inside. Have fun matching the colors of the leaves to your colored pencils, chalk pastels, crayons or other art supplies. You might want to sketch your leaves in your nature journal.

Watercolor pencils on the left and regular colored pencils on the right.

Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas

Track Weather in Your Homeschool

Autumn seems to be a season that many of us look forward to and in my part of the world we welcome the cooler temperatures and the crisp morning air. We begin to see a few days of wet weather and one activity that seems to make its way into my nature journal is to keep track of that cooler wet weather.

To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Simple Fall Homeschool Nature Study Ideas with Apples, Pumpkins and Pears

Our Homeschool Nature Study members enjoy these wonderful challenges!

  • Apple Challenge – Simple nature study featuring apples and the Handbook of Nature Study.
  • Pumpkins – Study your pumpkins and then eat them too!
  • Pear Challenge – Yummy nature study featuring pears and the Handbook of Nature Study with advanced study options too.
To celebrate the first day of fall or autumnal equinox, we invite you on a fall leaf tour in your homeschool! There are leaf nature studies to fill an entire week!

Autumn Series with the Handbook of Nature Study: Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum

There are so many fall favorites for you to explore over the next months!

Members also enjoy access to:

  • NEW, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges to bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!
  • the annual nature study plans
  • matching courses with materials and journaling pages
  • interactive calendar with daily nature study prompts
  • Nature Journaling course
  • and MUCH more!

More Fall Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

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Outdoor Mom’s Journal – Early Fall Thoughts

Outdoor Moms Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

“But he learns naturally at his own pace, never tiring, and slowly learning just what he needs to know about the world around him. And this is exactly what a child should be doing for the first few years. He should be getting familiar with the real things in his own environment. Some day he will read about things he can’t see; how will he conceive of them without the knowledge of common objects in his experience to relate them to? Some day he will reflect, contemplate, reason. What will he have to think about without a file of knowledge collected and stored in his memory?”

Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume 1 page 66

Renee’s Garden Seeds – Just Look at My Garden!

If you have been following the blog in the past few years, you are aware that Renee’s Garden Seeds has been a sponsor and valued part of my summer gardening experience. Not only have I enjoyed her seeds in my garden, but I have shared seeds with my dad. He has a beautiful garden and each year he tenderly nurtures his vegetables through the hot California summer. This year his pond went dry but he still kept his garden green with his well water.

Renees Garden Collage @handbookofnaturestudy

Here in town I did not have that option…we are on city water and have been restricted not only in the number of days we can water but we were asked to reduce our usage by using less than last year. I took the challenge and created a container garden on my back deck and watered using only a drip system and water that I caught from our shower warm up time that I collected in a five gallon bucket.  This garden has brought such joy to me over the summer. I could look out and see the insects buzzing around the blossoms and the hummingbirds stopping by for some nectar.

Sunflower Renees Garden

Hello Mr. Sunflower! So glad you joined us….the bees have spent many hours hovering and gathering at my container sunflowers.

Each morning I would check my plants for something to harvest. It could be a handful of cherry tomatoes, a zucchini to pick, or some herbs to include in my dinner plans.

morning glory renees aug 2015 (1)
I would talk to my morning glory vines and coach them to stop growing so tall and to start blooming. The first morning that I looked out my window and saw these gorgeous flowers made all the waiting worth it. They now greet me every morning with a few blue flowers…happy, happy, happy.

zucchini renees 2
The zucchini at the beginning of the season were small but more of a traditional shape. As the summer has worn on, they have started to change into this interesting shape, still tasty and summery on the table at dinner.

Granny Smith @handbookofnaturestudy

Apple Time!

We are looking forward to apple time in the coming weeks. Not only our local orchard but our very own apple tree in our backyard! This is the first year we really have an apple “harvest” on our young tree and it surprises me that even in our drought that we have apples to eat from our own tree. We will be visiting our local apple farm to purchase apples for various treats including applesauce. The taste of autumn around here is apple!

Apple Study @handbookofnaturestudy

You can do your own apple study using the Outdoor Hour Challenge: Autumn Apples Nature Study.

Join Jami over on An Oregon Cottage for her Tuesday Garden Party!

 Sugar Pine Point State Park Aug 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

 August was a great month of being outdoors for this nature loving mama. I accomplished one of my nature study goals for the year by visiting a new state park, Sugar Pine Point State Park! I will share that in an up-coming post here on the Handbook of Nature Study. The season is about to change here and that means even more time outside hiking with the cooler temperatures.

Outdoor Moms Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world. I hope you have enjoyed your August.

How Do You Join?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…

I will be posting my Outdoor Mom’s Journal entry once a month. Look for it during the first week of the month each month.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Spring Apple Tree

Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Apple Tree @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge:

Apple tree study time! We have been watching our backyard apple tree for signs of spring. How about you? Do you have a neighborhood apple tree to use along with the Outdoor Hour Challenge and the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study?

  • Spring Series #6 Apple Tree – This challenge includes pages in the Handbook of Nature Study that should be shared with your family, especially the “How An Apple Grows” section. See the pages to read by clicking over to this challenge.
  • Spring Time Apple – You can view some images I took of our apple tree in this entry.

Special Activity:Nature Journal Topper from the Newsletter

Use the Nature Journal Topper suggestion from the April 2014 Newsletter in addition to your apple tree observations. Everyone can make a journal page for their favorite variety of apple.

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #10.Now you can include a picnic using the ideas in this challenge. Perhaps you can even have the picnic under an apple tree (or other spring flowering tree). Complete the accompanying notebook page for your nature journal.

Great News for Members!
I just added the free printables for April onto your membership download page. Make sure to check the section of printables that will continue to grow each month!

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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Apple Time – Delicious Nature Study

The best part of autumn is taking in the fruits of the season. Apples, apples, apples, and more apples. We visited the apple orchard (which has much more than apples this time of the year) and enjoyed some freshly pressed apple cider, apple doughnuts, and picking out quite a few apples to take home.

Yes, I said apple doughnuts. I don’t usually eat doughnuts but this time of year it is a tradition that I like to indulge in with my men. I eat one and they have two or three. Crumb, cinnamon sugar, glaze??? They are all delicious.

In every plant, and bird and insect there is a life-history to be learned more interesting than any story, and I would urge parents to make themselves acquainted with these life-histories by obtaining and studying some of the many admirable books on Natural History which abound in the present day. They will then be enabled to pass on the information in happy talks with their children till they become eager little naturalists, loving the book of nature and seeing in it, not only endless things to admire and wonder at, but evidences, on all sides, of the works of an all-wise and kind Creator, Who has so marvelously fitted each living thing to fill its appointed place in creation and fulfill the duties assigned to it as a part of a great harmonious whole.
Parent’s Review Volume 11, 1900, pgs. 578-584

How much more do we enjoy our apples knowing their life history from twigs and buds in the winter, to leaves and blossoms in the spring, and then fulling enjoying the taste that arrives in a neat little package in the autumn.

It is a wonderful story for children to learn and appreciate.

Applesauce was next on the apple menu…homemade from apples we gleaned from a friend’s orchard. Now we have some jars to enjoy over the next few weeks. Yum!

There are several apple related studies here on the Handbook of Nature Study:
Apple Trees
Spring Apple Blossom

Please visit and share with us at the CM blog carnival! We'd love to have you!
I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: The official blog carnival site is not working so you will need to send them directly to this email.

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Garden Color and Fragrance – Early June Delights

Daisies June 2012

My garden is full of promise…the promise of beautiful things to look at and delicious things to eat.

The daisies are filling in a big spot in the back cutting garden and we are anxious to study them as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge later in the summer. There are coneflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias as well that have buds so stay tuned for some updates on those in a few weeks.

Star Jasmine
Some things are already smelling like heaven…the star jasmine is in full bloom and already needed a trimming back from the sidewalk. The cats lay under these plants since they make wonderful shade in the afternoon sun. Wouldn’t that be delightful?

Disneyland Roses June 2012
Last week when I was working with the window open I could smell this rose on the gentle afternoon breeze. It is a Disneyland Rose and it has been a faithful bloomer these past few years. It is loaded with pink/peach flowers. This rose is what I imagine the perfect rose fragrance would be…a signature scent.

Hydrangeas (1)
The hydrangeas are bursting open this week and the delicate color of the flowers on this particular bush is one of my favorites.

Hydrangea Nature Journal - with watercolor pencils
A few years ago, I used my watercolor pencils to capture the pastel colors of this lovely flower and then used a fine tip marker to outline it a bit. Keeping track of my favorite garden flowers in my journal is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon.

Jerusalem Sage
This is something new in the backyard this year and it is really taking off. We added this Jerusalem Sage to a spot that gets super hot and dry in the afternoons up against the house. So far it is thriving…I did put it on the drip system until it is established and then I think I can back off with the water. The texture of the leaves is soft and fuzzy which adds a nice layer of interest to this side of the garden.

Purple Butterfly Bush
The front yard has been joined by the blooming purple butterfly bush! The hummingbirds have been seen enjoying this particular bush…actually fighting over it in the early evening hours. My cat friend Cocoa is like my garden shadow these days. She seems to pop up wherever I go. You can see my sage growing in two spots in the background of this photo. It is just starting to bloom.

Red Hot Pokers June 2012
Another favorite of the hummingbirds is the Red Hot Poker plant. This is Mr. A’s favorite plant in the garden and he has been eagerly waiting for it to bloom. It looks good this year and I may end up dividing up the plant in the late fall to fill in a few spaces in the front garden.

Apples - June 2012
We have started to see quite a bit of growth in our backyard fruit. The apples are looking like apples! Not too many apples on the limbs but enough for each of us to enjoy a crisp apple come the end of the summer.

Someone asked in a comment a few weeks ago whether we had any lawn left in our yard. The answer is yes and you can see it in this photo. We have a small plot of grass left in the backyard, mostly for the dog to enjoy. We use it as her ball throwing spot and she loves to lay in the shady grass on the hot afternoons. Since it gets so hot here and there is very little rain during the summer months, we do have to water this part of the yard. I have it set on a timer and it waters five minutes a day and so far that is enough to keep it green. (I need to write a post showing how we have cut our water usage to a fraction of what it was two years ago and still enjoy a lush green garden.)

Figs on the Tree
Of course the figs are loaded as usual….this is not my favorite fruit but we eat a bit and then leave the rest for the birds and other critters. We have tried several times to eliminate this tree but every time we cut it down it comes back full and loaded with fruit within a year.

Blackberries - Early June
I do LOVE blackberries and we have our little patch just loaded with blossoms right now. This is exciting and it really seems like summer now that the berries are maturing. My blueberries are still all plant and no signs of blossoms or berries. I hope to get a bit of fruit from them this year. We shall see.

We have rain today so the garden is getting well watered but tomorrow we are going to see the end of the rain and be back to our warm temperatures. I am grateful for the rain but I am ready for the summer heat.

The June (Ocean Beach) edition of the Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter has published. You must be subscribed to the blog in order to receive the download link. It is a beautiful and informative edition that I know you are going to want to have in your collection. You can subscribe on the sidebar of my blog.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Apples Distracted Us From Our Pear Study

Apple Orchard 9 2011

We have been enjoying our “apple time” of year so far with three trips to the apple orchard, fresh apple cider, apple doughnuts, and homemade apple pie. We tried a new variety of apple (Mutsu) which actually made a really good pie apple.

Apples on the Tree

We really meant to do our Pear Study for the Outdoor Hour Challenge but we were distracted again this week with the wonderful weather and decided to take a drive instead. No pears were studied but we enjoyed peach and blueberry dumplings from a roadside stand. Yes, it was heavenly and I don’t regret the calories at all.

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Apples-Autumn Series Challenge Day

Autumn came this past weekend to our world and we awoke to sprinkles of rain on the ground. It wasn’t much so we didn’t let it cancel our plans to head up early to the apple orchards to find some apples to sample and use as part of our apple challenge.

Apple Doughnuts
Our traditional autumn outing always starts off with apple cider doughnuts….there are plain, glazed, crumb, and cinnamon spice varieties to enjoy along with your big cup of steaming hot coffee. The crumb doughnuts were the first to be eaten. We were early enough to have a good spot to sit to eat and enjoy the mountain air.

Apples in Bins High Hill Ranch
Then the real business of the day was at hand, choosing a few new kinds of apples to try. We were disappointed that they did not have Honey Crisp to purchase since I had read on several blogs about their wonderful taste. In the end, we settled on Empire, Jonagold, and Mutsu.

Apple Varieties

Empire is a cross between Red delicious and McIntosh.
Jonagold is a cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious.
Mutsu is also known as the Crispin.

Our official taste tests were interrupted when we decided to make the Mutsu apples into a pastry dessert. Mr. B had already created a wonderful dessert a few months ago with some apples and he repeated his recipe for us to enjoy again.

Apples in Bins at High Hill
We compared the sizes, colors, shapes, and tastes of the apples, noting the seed patterns, the skin textures, and the skin thicknesses as we cut and peeled the apples for the pastry and some applesauce.

Granny Smiths in Bins
Some of the apples were so large that they would be a complete meal all by themselves! My dear husband announced that although he enjoyed the new varieties that we picked out, he still loves the Granny Smith for eating the best. Go figure.

This was a delicious challenge for our family and we learned a little more about the different local varieties of apples available for eating and baking.

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Our Apple Tree Study: Spring Time

Spring Series-Apple Tree Study

Apple blossoms
Our new apple tree’s blossoms. Photo from 4/22/10 taken by my son Mr. A.

Our study took a turn when we had a huge rainstorm and an inch of snow a few days later. Our weather has been very unstable so we had to postpone our plans to observe our own newly planted apple tree and then drive up the road from our house where there are apple orchards by the acre.

We were finally able to do both parts of the study yesterday.

Our tree's little apples
First our tree….this is the first year we are observing this tree. It had blossoms some time ago but now I am assuming these are the baby apples.

Our tree's leaves-apple
The leaves are a nice texture and we found quite a few bugs crawling on the branches. My husband used the garden hose to spray them off and today they were still not back.

Apple Tree tag
This particular tree has had different kinds of apples grafted onto one trunk. Gravenstein, Fuji, Red Delicious, and a Rome.

It will be interesting to watch this tree mature.

Now for our drive to the apple orchard.

Apple Hill Sky with clouds
The sky was amazing with its white billowy clouds. My boys actually told me to stop and take a photo….as we stopped the car we realized that there was a field of sweet smelling lupine on the other side of the road.

Lupine Apple HIll 2
What a delight and a surprise to see this sight right near-by our home.

The orchards are all green and no longer full of blossoms.

Apple Orchard 2
It seems as if you could walk down the rows and feel the apples growing on the trees. I love apples.

Typing up this entry and viewing these photos makes me think that spring really is here. I can see it in the photos. Hooray for spring!

Just another note: I have seriously been lacking in my posting on this blog this week because of the time I am devoting to writing the Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges. There is just so much to research and to pull together so we will have a wonderful adventure this summer with the challenges. I am really looking forward to sharing my new ideas with you soon.

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OHC Spring Series #6: Apple Tree

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Spring Series #6
: Apple Trees in Spring

(Previous Apple Tree Study-Outdoor Hour Challenge #35)

“A visit to a large, well-grown orchard in spring or autumn will aid in making this work interesting. Any apple tree near at hand may be used for the lesson.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 664

Inside Preparation Work:
Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 661-664, paying special attention to Lesson 182 on page 664. Highlight some suggested activities to complete when you observe your apple tree.

“This lesson should begin with the apple blossom in the spring and should continue, with occasional observations, until the apples are well grown.”Handbook of Nature Study, page 666

Read the section on “How An Apple Grows” in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 665-667. Pay special attention to lesson suggestions #3, #4, #5, and #6.

(If you are using the online version of the HNS, you will find this on page 782 and if you are using the HomeschoolFreebie version it is in the Plants and Trees pdf on page 297. Thanks Angie.)

Outdoor Hour Time:
Ideally you will have an apple tree to observe, either in your own yard or in a near-by orchard.
Note: If you do not have a blossoming apple tree to study in real life, see if you can find another blooming tree to spend some time observing as a substitute for this challenge.

Suggested Observations for the Handbook of Nature Study, page 664 and 666
How tall is your tree?
How thick is its trunk?
What color is the bark?
Does the trunk divide into large branches or does it extend up through the center of the head?
Study the bud of the apple blossom.
Sketch an open apple blossom. How many petals? What is the shape of the flower?

Follow-Up Activity:
Make sure to give time and the opportunity for a nature journal entry using the notebook page from the Spring Nature Study ebook or a blank page in your own journal. Remember to sketch the shape of your apple tree and the blossom if possible. Help you child record some of his observations by having a conversation recounting your outdoor time. Even a few words written with a simple sketch is a great journal entry. Remember that you may need to model how to get started with nature journaling.

Of course you can always eat some apples to follow up your study of apple trees! Better yet, why not have a picnic outdoors under an apple tree this week? The weather is warming up all over the country now so take advantage of a warmer day to eat outdoors as well as have your nature study time.

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 #35: Tree Focus -Apple

What a perfect time of year to be completing a study of apple trees! The apple tree was the fourth most popular tree in the tree poll that I took before we started our tree study and that surprised me for some reason. We do not have an apple tree in our yard…we did in the past but the deer really got most of the apples and it was shading our garden so we took it out a number of years ago.

We are going to take a trip to a nearby apple orchard and complete our challenge there and I encourage you to seek out an opportunity to observe an apple tree up close for this study. Maybe your neighbor has a tree that you can look at or you have an orchard near your home that you could take few minutes to drive by and enjoy.

Even if you just purchase some apples and enjoy that experience you will have been successful in completing this challenge.

Just a word of caution: Let this study of apple trees unfold during your nature study time. Resist the urge to turn this into a huge unit study on apples. The most important thing to keep in mind if you are trying to stay with the spirit of the Handbook of Nature Study is to have a short period of outdoor time with a few ideas for observation in mind.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #35
Focus on Trees-Apple

(You also may be interested in Autumn 2010 #4 Apples.)

1. Read pages 661-670 in the Handbook of Nature Study to learn about the apple tree and apples. Pay special attention to page 664 where Lesson 182 outlines the study of an apple tree.

“A visit to a large, well-grown orchard in spring or autumn will aid in making this work interesting. Any apple tree near at hand may be used for the lesson.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 664

If you do not have access to an apple tree, you can use your nature study time this week to study apples using the suggestions on pages 667-670. These pages give lots of great information about apples and how to observe them in your nature study.

2. Spend 15 to 20 minutes outdoors this week with your children in your own yard or on your own street. This week you will have two suggested activities.

*If you have an apple tree of any variety in your yard or on your street, use the ideas from the lesson on page 664 to guide your observation of the apple tree.

*If you do not have an apple tree to observe or you have an additional time period for nature study, choose another variety of tree to observe. Pay special attention to the leaves and collect a few to observe indoors after your outdoor time.

3. After your outdoor time, spend a few minutes talking with your child about any trees you observed. Complete any of the suggested activities from the Handbook of Nature Study if you observed an apple tree. Ask if your child has any questions that they would like to research over the next week. Make note of anything they are interested in learning more about and then look it up in the index of the Handbook of Nature Study. Read more about it if it is covered in the book or check your local library if you need additional information.

4. Make sure to give time and the opportunity for a nature journal entry. You could use the suggested activity and sketch an apple from your tree, making special observation of the shape of your apple. You also could cut your apple in half and sketch what it looks like inside. A nature journal entry can be as simple as a sketch, a label, and a date. See challenge 2 and challenge 3 for alternatives to drawing in your nature journal. Press any leaves you collected this week and add them to your nature journal later on.

5. If you identified a tree this week, add it to your list of trees in the front or back of your nature journal. You can also use theRunning List notebook page. Make a note indicating whether it is an evergreen or a deciduous tree.

You can purchase all of the first ten challenges in a convenient ebook along with custom notebook pages.