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Bear Nature Study for Your Homeschool

We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.

We’re starting with a favorite topic of mine, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Forest Fun for Your Homeschool

You can enjoy some forest fun nature studies in your homeschool and do a bear nature study Outdoor Hour Challenge. Just how to do this?

Choose your resource for learning about the black bear. This can be an online site like National Wildlife Federation or the National Park Service.

Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you’ll find the detailed bear nature study challenge in the Forest Fun course that’s available with Homeschool Nature Study Membership. Sign into your account and download the accompanying homeschool curriculum for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

Find a bears study for your homeschool in the Forest Fun course in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

You can work through the Forest Fun Handbook of Nature Study curriculum any time during your homeschool studies. Forest Fun is a brand new series of homeschool nature studies featuring things you might find in the forest. It’s not too late to join us by purchasing a membership.

Enjoy a bears study in your homeschool!

It might be interesting to investigate online all the different types of bears there are in your area of the country. For example, we saw grizzly bears at Grand Teton National Park. The, on a camping trip to Yosemite, a black bear visited our campsite.

More Bears Study Resources for Your Homeschool

If you are looking for some hands on fun, you might also enjoy these bear nature study ideas from our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST:

Nana tells the story of bear coming into her backyard and taking a nap. She lives in an Atlanta suburb, so this was a really big deal! She also shared about how her neighbor said when the bear walked and the sunlight hit the bear’s coat, it had a rainbow of colors. Nana created a homeschool art lesson around her bear experience.

Paint a bear with Nana of You ARE an ARTiST!

And you can’t mention a bear study without including a very favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh! You can enjoy a Homeschool Nature Study with Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood as well. Paint a map of the Hundred Acre Wood, have a Teddy Bear Picnic and more.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 26+ nature courses and so much more!

We’re starting with a favorite topic, black bears! Enjoy a bear nature study in your homeschool with this Outdoor Hour Challenge and bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool.
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Mammal Nature Study and Journals

Mammal Nature Study and Journals

Do you have some time on your hands these days for a little extra nature study?

Here’s a short of list of the newer Outdoor Hour Challenges you may want to complete that feature some totally awesome mammals. I’m personally working my way through the list in my own study and following up with nature journal pages for each one. I still have a few more to go!

Forest Fun ebook cover graphic

Black Bear Nature Study

Porcupine nature journal page

Porcupine Nature Study

Moose Nature Study

High Desert Ebook cover graphic


Elk Nature Study

Coyote mammal nature journal

Coyote Nature Study

Douglas squirrel golden mantled ground squirrel mammal nature journal

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel Nature Study

Mountain Lion mammal nature journal

Mountain Lion Nature Study

Pocket Gopher Nature Study

river otter nature journal

River Otter Nature Study


You can click the link below to find all the mammal related nature study ideas here on the Handbook of Nature Study. I invite you to click on over and find something too!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Mammal Nature Study Index @handbookofnaturestudy


This is the perfect time to purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership using the discount code SPRINGTOGETHER and receive $10 off.

That means you will receive all the benefits of a membership for just $35!

Benefits by Level graphic 2019 to 2020 updated January 2020


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Grizzly Bears at Grand Teton National Park

I keep forgetting that I wanted to post these photos from my son’s camera. We were driving through the national park at sunset and we thought at first that we saw a bison. At second glance we realized it was a bear.

Grizzly Bear Grand Teton July 2011
A grizzly bear!

I stopped the car alongside the road…we were the first ones to see it. My son stepped outside the car to get a photo. I made him stay right by the car and none of the rest of us got out. We were not really close but I immediately saw that this was a mama with a cub. A minute later I saw a second cub. By this time there were several cars stopped on the side of the road and they were REALLY close to the bear.

One look at the image on my son’s camera and I could see it was a grizzly bear. We didn’t try to get better photos or get any closer. I really just wanted to give the bears their space.

Grizzly Bear Mama and Two Cubs Grand Teton 7 11
Grand Teton National Park – Grizzly Bears July 2011

You can see in this photo that other people were not using good judgement and they were way too close to the bears. These are really big bears and I know that there is nothing like a mama bear protecting her cubs….

It was a wonderful experience to see these creatures in their natural environment. The cubs were sort of playing with each other as they romped through the meadow. The mama was walking with that bear sort of swagger that is so distinctive. Amazing to see just how big they are in real life.

Just another Wyoming experience…

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Salmon Circle of Life

We were able to experience two kinds of salmon and their spawning this autumn.

Kokanee Salmon
The Kokanee salmon are a land-locked species that live in the high mountain lake and then return to the creek of their birth for spawning.

10 2010 Taylor Creek
This shallow creek is the perfect place for laying eggs in the gravel.

10 2010 Kokanee 2
The fish come by the thousands, swimming and leaping around in the water as they make their way back up the creek from the lake.

10 2010 Bear sign
The bears are around and we are warned to keep clear of them as they come for their autumn feast of salmon after the fish have spawned and then die.

Even though these are land-locked salmon, they still go through the same changes that their ocean cousins perform. Their colors change and their jaws and teeth become more prominent.

10 2010 Kokanee salmon 1
They wiggle a little dance to court the females and then fertilize her eggs. It is amazing to watch.

10 2010 Taylor Creek Bridge
There are two bridges that you can watch the fish from and on this day there were quite a few nature lovers out there viewing the fish ritual.

Mallard Duck and Salmon

The ducks, gulls, and eagles all depend on the salmon spawning for their autumn diet. We didn’t see any eagles on this day but the ducks were present.

10 2010 Kokanee and ducks
They eat the freshly laid eggs if they get the chance.

Our second salmon observing opportunity came this past weekend at the American River above Sacramento. There is a fish hatchery below a dam where the salmon will make their way up the fish ladder.

Nimbus Fish ladder
Here is the ladder the salmon will leap up as they  make their way to the hatchery. The officials were waiting until the next day to open the gate that ajoins the river to the ladder.

Chinook salmon 1
We were a little early but we were still able to observe the *huge* Chinook salmon waiting at the gate to climb up. They were actually jumping up out of the water and slamming into the metal gate. One sign says they can leap out of the water nine feet!

The Chinook are much larger than the Kokanee and we decided it was because they have a much longer migration journey. They travel round trip 2,000 miles from their birthplace, down the American River, through the Sacramento Delta and then out into the Pacific Ocean. Two or three years later, they make the return trip and end up at their birthplace again….changing from freshwater fish to saltwater fish and back again.

Nimbus Visitors Center
The hatchery we visited has a lovely visitor’s center to learn more about the cycle of life of the salmon.

Nimbus holding ponds
Trout are filling the holding ponds of the hatchery at the moment. There are steelhead and rainbow trout to view. In a month or so the steelhead will start their journey up the fish ladder and we may take time to visit again.

We had an additional observation of the rainbow trout a few weeks ago at a local pond that they stock for the kids to fish in. They are such beautiful fish and very tasty too. (I’m surprised I didn’t encourage us all to taste test the salmon and the trout…next time.)

So for our Outdoor Hour Challenge we were able to compare two different species of salmon as well as the salmon to the trout.

Our favorite is still the Kokanee salmon in its wild habitat and its unique cycle of life.

Kokanee Salmon -oil pastels
Here is a nature journal entry I made a few years ago featuring this colorful amazing fish.

Kokanee Salmon oil pastel
Here is one from my son’s portfolio…oil pastels.

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Yosemite Trip: Summer 2010: Bears, Wildflowers, and A Cool River

I have been trying all week to find time to post an entry sharing a little of our time in Yosemite last week. We had a great camping trip under the big trees and hiking was glorious. There were crowds of people in the valley but once you made a little effort to get on the trail, there were quiet and open spaces to enjoy with only a few other people to share the path.

Bear in the campsite
Our camping was made exciting by the visit of a black bear. Two campsites away they left out some food and the bear was quick to find a tasty meal of peanuts and chips. We were up early and making our way to the restroom and back when I spotted what I thought was a bear in the campsite. I did not have my glasses on and it was still early and dark. My husband assured me it was a bear.

Bear trying to escape Dave banging the pot
We made some noise and eventually grabbed some pots and pans to bang together to scare the bear away from the campsite. There is a meadow and wild space behind the campground and the bear eventually made its way off into the trees…not until after he tried to climb a tree. When he stood up he was taller than my 6′ tall husband. We never felt in danger but we know that once a bear gets accustomed to people food that they become a nuisance and the rangers have to take action. (Sorry for the blurry photos but it was really early morning and I just had my point and shoot.)

Hike to McGurks Meadow
We had two great hikes during our visit. The first was to McGurks Meadow which is off Glacier Point Road. It is the perfect time of year to visit the meadow to view the wildflowers. I can’t keep up with my boys anymore. They take off ahead of me but our family has come up with a way to stay together…a family whistle. They need to be able to hear me whistle and whistle back or they are too far ahead.

McGurks Meadow with Indian Paintbrush
The most abundant wildflower blooming was the Indian Paintbrush.

McGurks Meadow Corn Lilies
The corn lilies were starting to bloom as well. We saw loads of butterflies and when we stopped to sit on a log to rest, a tree frog jumped right up next to us.

May Lake Trail With Mr A
Our second hike of the week was up to May Lake which is a High Sierra Camp. You can hike up there and spend the night in tent cabins or bring your own tent. We just went for the day. Believe it or not, there is a trail there across the granite.

May Lake Trail 1
Here is some more of what the terrain looks like as you hike up to the lake. The lake itself is at about 9,200 feet in elevation. I can feel it in my lungs as we hike up at that altitude. I hike a lot but in combination with the heat and the altitude, it slows me down.

May Lake Trail sharing with Horses and Mules
On this particular day, there were two separate mule teams coming down from the High Sierra Camp. They bring the trash and stuff down the mountain and then after resupplying the packs, they head back up. They seem so sure of their footing even on the granite slabs.

May Lake Glorious View
The lake itself is not very big but so sparkling clear and cold…you just want to sit and enjoy the view for awhile before exploring around the edge. Here my son gives his dad a helping hand up after our time resting.

May Lake Trail Barb
Here I am on the trip down the mountain. Not very glamorous but it keeps the sun off this freckle face.

May Lake Trail Boys need to climb on rocks
The boys still have enough energy to do a little rock scrambling on the way down. They love this stuff and I think they need to do this sort of thing in order to grow up healthy and happy.

Yosemite Valley wildflowers
Our last day was spent in Yosemite Valley itself. We checked out the meadows with milkweed blooming and monarch butterflies fluttering.

Yosemite Valley milkweed with monarch
I almost captured the monarch on the milkweed…see him peeking out?

Yosemite Valley milkweed
The milkweed is just glorious right now…so many butterflies and other insects in the meadows. Coexisting, growing so pretty.

Yosemite Valley Bikes
We spent the afternoon pedaling at bike speed around the whole valley. What a great way to slow down and really see a lot of ground in a short time. Guess where we are parked?

Yosemite Valley cooling off at the river
The Merced River. Talk about refreshing! Most people were drifting down on rafts but we decided to jump in and get wet. No kidding, it was perfect.

Yosemite Valley Half Dome at Sunset
One last shot at sunset of this massive granite rock that we have come to love. Half Dome in all its splendor…until next time.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of our adventures.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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Autumn Afternoon Walk-Surprising Discovery

October Sky
Just another beautiful oak day with a beautiful sky.

10 14 09 Red Shack
Here we go down the trail. The rain stopped a few hours earlier and we decided to take advantage of the break in the storm to hike down the hill and see what we could see. Little did we know that right after I took this photo we would see something that would make us stop dead in our tracks.

Deer Bones
There in the middle of the trail were scattered deer bones and one of the hooves.

A little further down the trail was the biggest pile of bear scat I have ever seen. Yikes. (No photos of that I promise.)

We have been hiking this trail for a very long time and we have never seen either of these things before.

We did a quick consultation and decided to finish our hike down the hill but on the return back up the hill, going past the pile of bones, I started to get a little nervous. I was sort of glad to get back to where we had parked the car…if you know what I mean.

I am not usually spooked by this sort of stuff but it was a big pile of bones and a huge pile of scat. It looked fairly fresh but maybe it was because of the recent rain….or not.

We might hike somewhere else for awhile.

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Early Autumn: First of Many Walks

We took a long walk today to enjoy the last of the hot afternoons…we know they will be coming to an end soon. Here are a few things I want to share from our day.

This is a sure sign that autumn is coming quickly. The aspens are beginning to change color and the wind makes them shimmer and shake.

The Kokanee salmon are spawning and their green and red color is brilliant in the clear creek water.

The creek is very shallow and the salmon come here to lay their eggs and die. This becomes a habitat for eagles and bears and ducks this time of year. Can you guess why?

Bear at Taylor Creek
If you click this photo it will enlarge and you will see the outline of a bear at the bottom of the photo among the trees. She was on the other side of the creek sharing a salmon with her baby. We gave her a lot of space and the few of us that were there snapped a few photos and left her in peace.

The whole afternoon was picture postcard perfect.

The Pussy Paws are golden and the Rabbitbrush is golden and the pines are green and the sky is blue……where are my paints?

This was a great afternoon and I feel so refreshed.